Conffederate
Confederate

September 23, 2011

A Fine Line Between Governance and Terrorism

Smuggling weapons--arms trafficking--has long been argued as an act of war or an act of terrorism, whether we're discussing Iran's various attempts to provide weapons of war to those fighting the U.S. and Israel, the German submarine U20's sinking of the Lusitania for smuggling 4.2 million rounds of small arms ammunition, or the Obama Administration's smuggling of thousands of weapons to drug cartels locked in a a mortal struggle with the government of Mexico.

As a matter of fact, U.S. federal law would seem to define Operation Fast and Furious as an act of international terrorism:

As used in this chapter—
(1) the term “international terrorism” means activities that—
  (A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;
  (B) appear to be intended—
        (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
        (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
        (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
  (C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum;

Operation Fast and Furious seems to have violated multiple federal laws, including the Arms Export Control Act.

More to the point of terrorism, the gun-walking occurred within the United States and knowingly involved allowing weapons to transition an international border with Mexico in order to "intimidate or coerce" Mexico's embattled civilian population and civil government.

Another apparent goal was to influence the policy of U.S. gun laws by coercion (actual ATF implementation of multiple long-gun reporting, asserted attempt to create conditions for a U.S. weapons ban).

Last but not least, Operation Fast and Furious (and contemporary programs) seem designed to affect the conduct of the government of Mexico by providing mass destruction in the form of thousands of firearms used typically used for assassination and kidnapping, and the conduct of the government of the United States by lending anecdotal credence to President Obama's 90-percent lie and trump up support for attacks on the Second Amendment.

Governed by this definition provided in Title 18 of U.S. Code, there is every reason to state that Gunwalker is international terrorism sponsored from the highest levels of appointed and elected officials within the executive branch of the administration of President Barack Obama.

No wonder they want to close Gitmo. As terrorists, that is precisely where they belong.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:09 PM | Comments (1)

September 21, 2011

Choi to Re-enlist

Good for him, and good for the country:

More than two years after former infantry officer Daniel Choi came out on a talk show as a gay service member – an event that led to his discharge - the Iraq war veteran says he will re-enlist in the U.S. Army following Tuesday's repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

"Going back to the military will be a vindication," Choi told POLITICO. [I'm] going back because I fought to go back. The seriousness of our claims was not just political theatre – it was really drawn from our lives. I sacrificed so much so I could go back."

I think anyone who is willing to make the sacrifices and serve their nation in the military should be able to, and that's about it. Gays have always been in the military, and I for one am proud to live in a nation where honorable men and women can now openly serve.

Mike Adds:

The problem with this, as well as similarly controversial social dilemmas occurs when people identify themselves primarily by their preferences rather than their duty or nationality. I have far less concern for a soldier who happens to be gay than for a gay soldier. I have no worries about a lawyer who happens to be black, female or gay, but I'm always concerned about a black lawyer or a feminist lawyer or a gay lawyer because they see the law as a means of forcing others to accept their preferences. Similarly, I'm glad to accept any American who happens to be Hispanic, Armenian, etc., but "Hispanic-Americans" or any other hyphenated type, tend to be worrisome.

A soldier who happens to be gay might reasonably never be known to be gay any more than a soldier fond of any other sexual practice. Spare me the "gayness is my identity" meme. If you enlist or accept a commission in the armed services, your identify is that of soldier, sailor, airman or marine. Everything else is secondary.

As Bob has suggested, gay people have indeed served honorably, but they have done so because they have served, first, foremost and always, as soldiers. Being gay was not an issue for them because they were wise enough not to make it an issue so as not to interfere with their--and the military's--mission.

Update (Bob): I should have research more on Choi before commenting on his reenlistment. To put it mildly, his behavior has been controversial and he apparently wasn't a good officer when he did serve.

That now understood, I affirm my support of those who serve... but really wonder if Choi himself should be allowed back in.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:51 AM | Comments (8)

August 23, 2011

These Guys Won?

Look closely at the following photograph currently on the Fox News home page, showing Libyan rebel fighters.

libya_weapons_20110823_214945

Now look even more closely at the dufus on the right.

I've never been in the military (or even played a soldier on television), but even I know that a rocket-propelled grenade loaded in the ass-end of a launcher isn't a threat to anyone.

Seriously... these guys beat Qaddafi?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:22 PM | Comments (10)

Libyan Rebels Claim Qaddafi Compound Breached

I'll believe it when we have confirmation, but it seems plausible.

[Updated 11:39 a.m. ET, 5:39 p.m. in Libya] Rebels are saying they have made it into Gadhafi's Bab Al Aziza compound, CNN's Sara Sidner reported.

"They have been able to take some of the weapons off of the Gadhafi forces," she said.

Rebels are telling Sidner "Gadhafi is nearly finished."

Sidner said that rebels said they are still inside trying to secure the area, but are celebrating as fighting continues.

“Now they’re going to try and clear the compound," Sidner said rebels told her.

Sidner said that she is less than half a kilometer from the compound and can see more smoke coming from the area.

Sidner said rebels are hugging each other and crying on the streets. Loud chants can be heard in the background.

Rebels shouted "God is great, God is great" in celebration Tuesday.

The compound is symbol of the regime, and an important one, but only a symbol. Until they capture or kill Qaddafi and his sons, the fighting will likely continue.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2011

Libyan Regime Goes Dead Parrot

dead-parrotMichael Palin, John Cleese, and Moammar Qaddafi

Rebels control most of Tripoli and have captured his two oldest sons, and it seems a foregone conclusion that the 42-year dictatorship of Moammar Qaddafi is finished, despite the Baghdad Bob protests of his few remaining supporters who hope against hope that the regime is just "pining for the fjords."

The location of the ex-dictator (I think it safe to call him an "ex" when he controls less than 20% of his own capitol) is anyone's guess, and it appears everyone is guessing, from supposing his death (inaccurately, so far), to thinking he's holed up in a strongpoint in Tripoli, to those who feel he has fled to neighboring Algeria, or even to South America.

Predictably, President Obama's supporters are crowing that Qaddafi's downfall is a victory and a feather in the cap of the President.

I say give Obama all the credit possible for what he actually did.

He pledged military and intelligence support to a popular preexisting coalition of primarily Western European forces.

He authorized the U.S. military to use air power, and then reined them in so that their effectiveness was diminished, prolonging the conflict.

Obama joined a victorious coalition, but certainly did not lead it. Give him the credit he deserves for putting a finger in the wind and following popular opinion. Just don't dare claim it amounts to anything remotely like leadership.

Beyond that, let us hope that the various rebel forces that will be vying for control of Libya are a bit less extremist than the dictator they replace. The Libyan people deserve better.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:17 AM | Comments (1)

August 21, 2011

Qadaffi Dead (or not?)... But what next?

Allahpundit is updating so fast I can't keep up with it but the gist of it is that instead of a siege of Tripoli, the various rebel grouping surging into the city are finding that regime loyalists have simply melted away.

As noted in the headline various voices on Twitter are claiming the strongman is dead. If he isn't, and he's in Tripoli, he most likely will be soon if he isn't now.

It is amazing how a bunch of ragtag rebels with no discernible organization can overthrown a firmly entrenched tyrant that started this war with total control of the government and military. Other dictators should look upon Libya with fear in their hearts.

Of course, this doesn't mean rainbows and sunshine for Libyans. We don't know who is going to take power in the suddenly leaderless state, or what their intentions are. The old dictator has fallen.

But what will we face now?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:14 PM | Comments (4)

August 06, 2011

The Deadliest Day

An American special operations helicopter—most likely a CH-47—was downed last night in Afghanistan in the deadliest single incident of the Afghan war for American forces.

A military helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan, killing 31 U.S. special operation troops and seven Afghan commandos, the country's president said Saturday. An American official said it was apparently shot down, in the deadliest single incident for American forces in the decade-long war.

The Taliban claimed they downed the helicopter with rocket fire while it was taking part in a raid on a house where insurgents were gathered in the province of Wardak late Friday. It said wreckage of the craft was strewn at the scene.l

I think I can speak for both Mike and myself in offering our sincere prayers to the families of those lost, and for the souls of these brave warriors.

Godspeed.

Update: The majority of the dead are Navy SEALs from Team 6. The aircrew is probably from the Army's 160th SOAR, and the remainder of those killed were Afghan military. It is beginning to sound like a Taliban gunner got lucky with an RPG as the helicopter shortly after taking off as the mission was completing and the unit was exfiltrating.

Elements of Team 6 killed Osama bin Laden.

I would not be surprised at all if the RPG came from the Pakistani ISI.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:08 AM | Comments (4)

July 22, 2011

Terror in Oslo: Religion of Pedophilia and Infantile Rage Strikes Again

There was a massive car bomb that shattered the facades of buildings around the Norwegian Prime Minister's office, and there are now unconfirmed reports of a gunman dressed as a police officer shooting up a youth camp outside the capitol, and other possible unexploded bombs in the city of Oslo.

The BBC is providing on-going coverage of what appears to be not just one, but a possible series of terror attacks.

And the obligatory Islamic tie-in:

The blast comes as Norway grapples with a homegrown terror plot linked to al-Qaida. Two suspects are in jail awaiting charges.

Last week, a Norwegian prosecutor filed terror charges against an Iraqi-born cleric for threatening Norwegian politicians with death if he is deported from the Scandinavian country. The indictment centered on statements that Mullah Krekar -- the founder of the Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam -- made to various news media, including American network NBC.

We can't outlaw a peaceful religion, but we sure as Hell can outlaw violent cults.

It's time we started working on making that happen.

Update: The claims of responsibility from the terror group have turned out to be bogus. It's a sick person in a sick cult who takes credit for something like this.

Details are sketchy, but it appears that the attacker is a native Norwegian and is responsible for both the bombing in Oslo and the shootings at the youth camp.

He is in police custody.

Update: The body count has skyrocketed to at least 84 on the island, and 91 overall.

Norwegian national broadcaster NRK identified the shooter as 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, and he is apparently an anti-Muslim right-wing extremist and Christian Fundamentalist. He is Norway's McVeigh.

Let the title of this article of this blog post be a warning not to jump to conclusions, even when the crime fits the M.O. and one terrorist group or another within the Islamic Death Cult claims responsibility.

The key difference to remember--while American liberals gloat over the wrong assumptions we made based upon initial claims--is that when so-called Christians embark on crimes of this nature, they are expressly violating one of the key tenants of our faith. When Muslims commit mass murder, they are typically following key tenants of their faith.

Big difference.

Regardless of the politically focused sideshow, my heartfelt sympathies extend to the families affected by this madman. Please send them your prayers.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:36 AM | Comments (14)

July 13, 2011

Mumbai Bombed on Terrorist's Birthday

Three bombs. Nothing definitive on casualties yet, but initial reports indicate three killed and at least dozens wounded.

Rather obviously, the Religion of Peace/Cult of Death has struck again.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:06 AM | Comments (4)

July 06, 2011

Obama Continues to Ignore Iran's Arming and Training of Shiite Militias as American Soldiers Die

American soldiers in Iraq are being attacked and killed with increasing sophisticated weapons provided by Iran, and the Obama Administration does nothing:

James F. Jeffrey, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, said Tuesday that fresh forensic testing on weapons used in the latest deadly attacks in the country bolsters assertions by U.S. officials that Iran is supporting Iraqi insurgents with new weapons and training.

"We're not talking about a smoking pistol. There is no doubt this is Iranian," Jeffrey said in an interview.

"We're seeing more lethal weapons, more accurate weapons, more longer-range weapons," Jeffrey added. "And we're seeing more sophisticated mobile and other deployment options, and we’re seeing better-trained people."

In some cases, insurgents made no effort to remove from the weapons identification numbers suggesting that they came from Iran, "which in itself is troubling," Jeffrey said.

Training is being provided by the Revolutionary Guards, which supports Shia terrorism worldwide.

A stern response in the form of a series of "accidents" at Iranian Revolutionary Guards bases or among IRG commanders might get Iranian attention, and if carefully targeted, could decapitate the leadership authorizing the attacks without overt war. It would be fighting Iran on its own terms, in the kind of guerilla warfare fighting Americans have excelled at since Major Benjamin Church led the first American ranger units in King Philips War a hundred years before we were an inkling of a nation.

We know how to defeat Iran at their own game. We simply need the political will to engage in this kind of conflict and win.

Of course, there doesn't seem to be the political will to counter Iran, and perhaps the President simply can't muster the outrage to attack kindred spirits.

We are, after all, talking about an Administration that has done nearly the same thing in arming Mexican narco-terrorists via the Department of Justice's Gunwalker program.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:34 AM | Comments (1)

May 24, 2011

Idiot Obama Sets Out to Create Another War

Barack Obama finally found a Middle Eastern leader he wouldn't bow down to in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He also seems intent on empowering the militant Arabs surrounding Israel with the moral cover to start another war.

...Mr. Obama's problem isn't, as he supposes, that people aren't paying close enough attention to him. On the contrary, they've noticed that on Thursday Mr. Obama called for Israel to make territorial concessions to some approximation of the '67 lines before an agreement is reached on the existential issues of refugees and Jerusalem. "Moving forward now on the basis of territory and security," he said, "provides a foundation to resolve these two issues in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians."

Mr. Obama neglected to mention these points on Sunday, hence the telling omission. But the essence of his proposal is that Israel should cede territory, put itself into a weaker position, and then hope for the best. This doesn't even amount to a land-for-peace formula.

That's not all. Mr. Obama got some applause Sunday by calling for a "non-militarized" Palestinian state. But how does that square with his comment, presumably applicable to a future Palestine, that "every state has a right to self-defense"? Mr. Obama was also cheered for his references to Israel as a "Jewish state." But why then obfuscate on the question of Palestinian refugees, whose political purpose over 63 years has been to destroy Israel as a Jewish state?

Barack the Younger seems intend on creating the conditions for a modern round of Arab-Israeli wars, where it seems his favor lies with the bloodthirsty and genocidal Arabs.

I cannot for the life of me why he continues to stir up trouble for our allies, unless he doesn't consider himself to be on their side. Why, the next thing you know, he'll make statements that encourage the IRA.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:09 AM | Comments (1)

May 12, 2011

Professional Idiot Ron Paul Would Not Have Authorized Bin Laden Mission

Proving yet again why this messiah to the dim and half-baked is simply unfit for the job he wants.

Ron Paul says he would not have authorized the mission that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, and that President Barack Obama should have worked with the Pakistani government instead of authorizing a raid.

"I think things could have been done somewhat differently," Paul said this week. "I would suggest the way they got Khalid [Sheikh] Mohammed. We went and cooperated with Pakistan. They arrested him, actually, and turned him over to us, and he's been in prison. Why can't we work with the government?"

Asked by WHO Radio's Simon Conway whether he would have given the go-ahead to kill bin Laden if it meant entering another country, Paul shot back that it "absolutely was not necessary."

"I don't think it was necessary, no. It absolutely was not necessary," Paul said during his Tuesday comments. "I think respect for the rule of law and world law and international law. What if he'd been in a hotel in London? We wanted to keep it secret, so would we have sent the airplane, you know the helicopters into London, because they were afraid the information would get out?"

The correct answer is damn right you send the Blackhawks into London, and fire on Britain's throngs of disloyal Bin Laden supporters if necessary.

What Ron Paul doesn't get—and will never get—is that it is easy to be an ideologue when you don't have any real responsibilities. Obama is being exposed to this reality the hard way, which is why he's been dragged kicking and screaming into many of the (correct) foreign policy and military decisions undertaken by his predecessors, despite his unrealistic campaign promises.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:52 AM | Comments (6)

May 09, 2011

Chuck Schumer Proposes "No Ride" List for Amtrak

I'm pretty sure he didn't think this one all the way through:

A senator on Sunday called for a "no-ride list" for Amtrak trains after intelligence gleaned from the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound pointed to potential attacks on the nation's train system.

Sen. Charles Schumer said he would push as well for added funding for rail security and commuter and passenger train track inspections and more monitoring of stations nationwide.

"Circumstances demand we make adjustments by increasing funding to enhance rail safety and monitoring on commuter rail transit and screening who gets on Amtrak passenger trains, so that we can provide a greater level of security to the public," the New York Democrat said at a news conference.

As you would expect from a New york progressive, Schumer's "solution" is to throw hundreds of millions of dollars at a problem without solving it.

Any student of history has to be aware that while stations and the trains themselves are prime targets, the rail lines themselves are the weak link. During every major conflict from the mid 19th century onward, rail lines have been major targets for saboteurs, and those lines are nearly impossible to continuously monitor.

Terrorists do not need to enter a train station or get on a train to destroy the train; all they need to do is target an unguarded or just checked section of track with minimal explosives or even robust hand tools to cause a catastrophic derailment. Spending money we don't have to focus additional security resources on the part of the system that already has the most robust security measures is a fool's errand.

Further, Shumer assumes that passenger trains are the best target for catastrophic casualties, but the derailment of a chemical-laden freight train resulting in the rupture of caustic chemicals could lead to an incident on par with Bhopal.

If Schumer wants to provide the illusion of doing something worthwhile at great expense, he's certainly on the right path. But his farcical "no-ride" list will do nothing to save Americans lives.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:49 AM | Comments (8)

May 06, 2011

Obama Honors SEALs That Killed Bin Laden

Fox News has the story:

President Obama has met with the assault forces who carried out the strike on Osama bin Laden and has awarded them a presidential citation.

The White House says the president, along with Vice President Joe Biden, met privately with the troops at Fort Campbell, Ky., to thank them for their service.

Obama met with the full assault force involved in the raid in Pakistan carried out by Navy SEALS and also with helicopter operators who got them there. He awarded the units involved a Presidential Unit Citation -- the highest such honor that can go to a military unit -- to recognize "extraordinary service and achievement."

In a show of respect, the special operations team presented President Obama with a rare unit patch to wear on his Commander-in-Chief's jacket, something I'm told has not been done for other recent Presidents.

Blue_Falcon
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:11 PM | Comments (6)

al Qaeda Confirms that Bin Laden Sleeps with the Fishes

I guess this will make things a little harder on the conspiracy theorists, but only just a little bit.

Al Qaeda released a statement on jihadist forums Friday confirming the death of its leader, Osama bin Laden, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors Islamist websites.

The development comes days after U.S. troops killed bin Laden in a raid on a compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

The statement, translated by SITE, lauded the late militant, threatened to take action against the United States, and urged Pakistanis to "rise up and revolt."

Bin Laden's death will serve as a "curse that chases the Americans and their agents, and goes after them inside and outside their countries," the message said.

"Soon -- with help from Allah -- their happiness will turn into sorrow, and their blood will be mixed with their tears," it said.

It appears the White House decision to go back on the precedent of publishing pictures of dead terrorists accomplished precisely nothing, which anyone could have predicted. Perhaps one day we'll one again elect a President that understands that you win wars by breaking the enemy ability and spirit to fight, not placating them.

Barack Obama is not that President.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:25 AM | Comments (2)

May 05, 2011

Video Blackout on Bin Laden Raid? Not Likely.

Is anyone buying this?

Leon Panetta, director of the CIA, revealed there was a 25 minute blackout during which the live feed from cameras mounted on the helmets of the US special forces was cut off.

A photograph released by the White House appeared to show the President and his aides in the situation room watching the action as it unfolded. In fact they had little knowledge of what was happening in the compound.

In an interview with PBS, Mr Panetta said: "Once those teams went into the compound I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes where we really didn't know just exactly what was going on. And there were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information.

"We had some observation of the approach there, but we did not have direct flow of information as to the actual conduct of the operation itself as they were going through the compound."

The video feeds of this op were likely transmitted via a drone circling overhead, an AWACS or similar aircraft in Afghanistan and another in the Arabian Sea, and surveillance satellites overhead. The odds that feeds from 79 operators, fed through multiple uplinks, was never seen or recorded simply isn't credulous.

Further, you'll note that Panetta chose his words very carefully. They did not have direct flow of information. That indicates that there were recording of the assault recorded on the flash-memory of helmet-mounted cameras, but these are just one more set of images—along with the three or more sets of photographs of Bin Laden's body—that the "most transparent Administration in history" refuses to show the American people.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:45 AM | Comments (3)

May 04, 2011

Real Presidents Show Dead Terrorists

zarqawi
Zarqawi

udayqusay2
Uday and Qusay Hussein


But then, nobody ever accused Barack Hussein Obama of being a real President.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:17 PM | Comments (6)

GUTLESS

Barack Obama refuses to publish any of the death photos of Osama Bin Laden.

The decision confirms that Obama is weak and too deferential to the sensitivities of people who celebrated the murder of thousands of Americans on September 11, 2001, and who delighted in the beheading snuff films of Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg.

Barack Obama cares more about the opinions of terrorists than he does closure for the America people.

Screw him.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:07 PM | Comments (7)

May 03, 2011

Bin Laden's Death Ultimately Means Little

For most Americans—including progressives that suddenly seem okay with violence directed at someone other than conservatives—Bin Laden's death was a source of both relief and satisfaction. At the same time, those of us grounded in reality—and some aren't—know that neither al Qaeda, nor the Taliban, nor greater Islam's barbaric normalism has suddenly ended because of one man's death.

Osama Bin Laden was just one of thousands of committed warlords in 1,400 years of Islamic history that dedicated his life to the destruction of all ideas that were not lock-step in line with his own. Islam has not been diminished by his death. It's constant bloodlust and history of oppression is not subdued as a result of his passing. Osama Bin Laden's death is just one of a millions that can attributed to the world's most violent death cult. He is merely one of the more recent martyrs.

The war between good and evil, light and dark, the rest of the world and Islam, will continue.

There can be no peace as long as Islam exists. Every second of their history since 632 AD confirms that sad fact. You cannot "coexist" with evil.

You kill it, or it kills you.

And so the war continues.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:28 PM | Comments (5)

May 02, 2011

Final Photo Of Osama Bin Laden

chum_bucket

Appropriately enough, the last words ever said to him were, "What's up, chum?"

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:09 PM | Comments (4)

Bin Laden Death Photo?

A picture of a dead Osama bin Laden. AFP, via Yahoo.

Caption reads:

Iraqis watch a news broadcast on Al-Arabiya showing an image which allegedly shows the body of Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden. The killing of bin Laden by US forces at a palatial villa near the capital Islamabad has raised fresh questions over Pakistan's loyalties in the war against Al-Qaeda. (AFP/Sabah Arar)

Update: Image Al-Arabiya is showing may have been Photo-shopped according to commenter (see below). I wouldn't be that surprised.

Confirmed a fake.

The U.S. government almost certainly had video cameras recording every second of the raid from satellite, drones, helicopters, and SEAL team member helmet-mounted sources. They also must have still photos from the scene and on-board ship where his DNA was drawn for confirmation and his body was buried at sea.

This confirming information must be made public, While most rational people will find the claims of his death credible, there are a significant number—particularly among his supporters and sympathizers—who will refuse to admit his death if not dramatically shown otherwise with concrete proof. In this day and age, photos and videos still trump DNA tests that people in many parts of the world don't understand or trust.

Show us his corpse, or the conspiracy theorists will have a field day with their rumors.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:21 AM | Comments (5)

Hidden By Pakistan, Osama Bin Laden Killed

Justice served.

Bin Laden's hideout was a custom-built home 100 yards from one of Pakistan's elite military academy. That nation obviously was aware of the hideout and was harboring the world's most wanted terrorist... for how long we have not been told. They have a lot to answer for, and all U.S. funding to that nation needs to stop NOW until we learn just how complicit they were.

Update: Bert still on the run.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:11 AM | Comments (3)

March 07, 2011

Oh, For a New AVG

As speculation leaks out this morning that Syria aircraft and ground troops may be fighting Libyan rebels on behalf of Qaddafi's dictatorship, it makes me wonder how many lives might eventually be saved if there was a way for forming something like the American Volunteer Group that fought for the Chinese in world War II. You probably know them better as the Flying Tigers.

flying tigers

With the cost of today's 4th and now 5th generation jet fighters there is no reasonable expectation of a volunteer force fighting a direct air-to-air war against modern (or nearly modern) fighters, but even a single squadron of generation's old close-air support and observation aircraft could bring this conflict to a quicker and hopefully less costly end. Modern piston-drive COIN aircraft such as the Hawker Beechcraft AT-6 or the EMB-314 Super Tucano could level the playing field for the rebels, as they are more than capable of taking on the improvised gun trucks and tanks of Qaddafi's loyalists and mercenaries, and quite frankly, could probably do so with a bit more accuracy (and collateral damage) than the jet aircraft the dictator's forces have been using.

The AT-6 is even familiar to many pilots; the trainer version of the plane is the primary trainer the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy pilots and the pilots of 19 other nations.

Like the original AVG, the pilots and ground crews of this theoretical group would be made up of men that volunteered to serve, flying planes loaned to the besieged rebels. At or near the end of the conflict, with the tables decisively turned, the aircraft could be returned to their originating nations or "donated" to the new government for oil.

I know that the odds of any nation loaning the Libyan rebels aircraft and crews is almost non-existent, but I have to wonder ho many lives might be saved and how much shorter the conflict would be if this relatively modest investment (in military terms) could be used to break what increasingly looks like a bloody and protracted stalemate that may cost thousands of lives.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:19 AM | Comments (10)

March 03, 2011

NATO Helicopters Kill Nine Afghan Boys Collecting Firewood

This really confuses me and pisses me off.

Which nation's helicopters were responsible for this attack, and if American Apache gunships, where was the target discrimination? We've spent hundreds of millions for state-of-the-art sensors that can cut through darkness and fog, and none of that technology was able to tell that these children were carrying firewood, and not weapons?

I don't need to be told there is a fog of war, but we seem to be repeating this kind of mistaken identity every few months. You can't win a counterinsurgency like this.

Good grief.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:43 AM | Comments (12)

Bradley Manning Faces Possible Death Penalty

The treasonous weasel deserves nothing more than a fair trail and a fair execution.

The Army on Wednesday filed 22 new charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of illegally downloading tens of thousands of classified U.S. military and State Department documents that were then publicly released by WikiLeaks, military officials told NBC News. The most serious of the new charges is "aiding the enemy," a capital offense that could carry a potential death sentence.

Pentagon and military officials say some of the classified information released by WikiLeaks contained the names of informants and others who had cooperated with U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, endangering their lives.

What Manning deserves and what he gets, however, could be two vastly different things. The overwhelming preponderance of evidence is that Bradley Manning is guilty; no one actually argues Manning isn't absolutely guilty of disclosing hundreds of thousands of files. Some extremists are trying to manufacture whistleblower status for the imprisoned leaker, but the simple fact is that Manning ignored the established protocols whistleblowers have that would have afforded him protection, and instead intentionally decided to attempt to damage U.S. military and foreign policy.

Others may chose to scapegoat Manning's sexuality, but I find that unfair to the legion of gay servicemen and women that served this nation honorably over the history of the Republic.

Manning is a traitor to his nation and his service who intentionally put the lives of U.S. citizens and allies at risk. He is an information terrorist. No amount of spin by left wing zealots can spin that ugly truth away.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:43 AM | Comments (3)

February 22, 2011

Time for Naval, Air Strikes Against Pirates in Somalia

Four Americans on a private yacht captured by Somali pirates have been killed by their captors. News is understandably sketchy at this point, but it appears that at least some of the pirates may have been engaged by U.S. naval forces that were shadowing the vessel after the murders.

The international community has allowed pirates to operate off Somalia for far too long, and has done nothing to eradicate the threat.

While pirates operate off the coast, the simple fact of the matter is that they cannot exist without a support structure onshore. These pirate havens are well known to the governments of the world, and poorly defended. Bombardment from the air or sea could easily reduce the pirate strongholds to rubble, sink the "motherships" that pirates use to extend their range offshore, and of course, eliminate the pirates themselves.

Among this nation's first foreign policy decisions were two small wars (the Barbary Wars) against African pirates. Piracy that had existed for centuries in the region came to a halt only when overwhelming force was brought to bear. Two hundred years later, the same motivations encourage the pirates of Somalia, and only the same forceful response can end the modern age of African piracy.

Such a campaign can easily be won with minimal or even non-existent U.S. casualties. It merely remains to be seen if the Obama Administration will decide to stand for American interests, or instead remain ever deferential to any thuggish entity that claims Islam for its inspiration.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:05 AM | Comments (15)

February 14, 2011

WMDs? What WMDs?

So either this San Diego Customs and Border Patrol agent is a full-on loony, or WMDs have been intercepted entering our nations ports.

I rather suspect that Al Hallor, the assistant port director/CBP officer that made these comments is simply being shockingly candid. We know that terrorist groups would love to use WMDs inside America, and that plots have been uncovered around the world where terrorist groups have attempted to acquire nuclear weapons, radiological material, and both chemical and biological weapons. Sooner or later an attempt would be made to bring it into our nation, and I'm not surprised at all that some were intercepted.

Quite frankly, I would be shocked if attempts to use WMDs within the US have already made it past our borders and have been tried, but failed. As easy as it is to smuggle in millions of illegal aliens and thousands of tons of drugs each year over our virtually undefended borders with Mexico and Canada, it is only logical to suspect WMDs have already made it into this nation.

Getting them here is only part of the battle. Deploying them effectively is another matter entirely.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:46 AM | Comments (3)

January 27, 2011

Napolitano's Focus On Molesting Grandmothers in Airports Is Letting Iranian Suicide Bombers Slip Across Our Southern Border

Or at least that is in one inference that can be made by this story out of Arizona:

A book celebrating suicide bombers has been found in the Arizona desert just north of the U.S.- Mexican border, authorities tell Fox News.

The book, "In Memory of Our Martyrs," was spotted Tuesday by a U.S. Border Patrol agent out of the Casa Grande substation who was patrolling a route known for smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs.

Published in Iran, it consists of short biographies of Islamic suicide bombers and other Islamic militants who died carrying out attacks.

According to internal U.S. Customs and Border Protection documents, "The book also includes letters from suicide attackers to their families, as well as some of their last wills and testaments." Each biographical page contains "the terrorist's name, date of death, and how they died."

Perhaps the most asinine claim made in the article is a blatant lie by a unnamed DHS spokesman:

"At this time, DHS does not have any credible information on terrorist groups operating along the Southwest border," a Department of Homeland Security official said in a statement.

Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) called upon DHS to investigate Hezbollah's actions along the U.S.-Mexican border in June of last year.

The mainstream media, investment magazines, and even political think tanks have been writing about the issue as long ago as 2009, and rumors of US covert action against Islamic terrorist groups in Mexico and other Central and South America countries dates back even further.

Is DHS really expecting us to believe that the border they refuse to protect isn't the easiest and most logical infiltration route for terrorists, just as it is for cartels?

We will see the Mexican border shut iron-tight in a matter of days after the next massive terrorist strike in this nation is linked to terrorists waltzing into this nation, armed to the teeth as they did in Mumbai.

When that happens, I hope the American citizenry holds the political class (both parties) responsible, and puts those responsible for allowing this to happen in prison where they belong.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:50 AM | Comments (4)

December 19, 2010

.308 Winchester/7.62 NATO Outlawed by Iraq for PMCs?

I just had a very interesting phone with a defense contractor, who informed me that the Iraqi government just passed a law that outlaws the use of .308 Winchester/7.62 rifles in Iraq by private military contractors.

As a result, overwatch teams that have been using rifles chambered in this caliber for counter-sniper roles are going to have to find other long-range calibers that meet the standards of Iraqi law. I have no idea if this affects 7.62 machine guns as well.

Why has this been done? I have absolutely no idea, and cannot find the first mention of this in the MSM or military media at this time. There is the possibility that this is a false alarm or miscommunication of some sort, but if it is, it is a miscommunication serious enough that PMCs are reaching out for alternative weapons.

I'll update if I learn any more.

12/20 Update: This doesn't appear to be a "law" as such, but perhaps a directive or "suggestion." I can get my hands on the language, but it appears that the intent it to require counter-sniper weapons to be chambered in 5.56, something similar to a Mk 12.

Considering much of the PMC work and Iraqi population is contained in urban areas with high population densities, it makes sense to reduce the risk of over-penetrating or off-target bullets to nearby civilians, and the reduced range is probably mitigated by the reality of reduced lines of sight anyway (that is purely speculative, btw).

All things considered, this seems to be a pretty logical request, does it not?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:11 PM | Comments (9)

December 11, 2010

The Handy-Dandy, All-Purpose Entrapment Defense

On December 8, Muhammed Hussein--Antonio Martinez before his conversion to Islam--was arrested by the FBI. But why? Was the evil FBI engaging in racist, anti-Muslim profiling? Not unless one considers arresting Hussein after he actually tried to detonate a bomb which was, thankfully, an FBI supplied fake, at a Baltimore County military recruiting facility to be racist, anti-Muslim profiling.

This is yet another in a series of good catches on the part of law enforcement, catches wherein dedicated, home-grown jihadists, have been discovered and intercepted before they could actually kill innocent Americans on American soil. This is the good news. The bad news is that, as always, we have to be lucky every time and everywhere, and the jihadists have to be lucky only once and only here and there. This situation also illuminates a danger to which America is uniquely susceptible due to, as usual, politically correct good intentions. I’ll explore that danger and an effective, easily implemented fix to largely remove it as a danger in a multi-part series in the near future, but for this post, the issue raised by Hussein and his supporters is: Entrapment.

Entrapment is a term much bandied about, particularly by common criminals, defense attorneys, creatures of the left, community activists and organizers and increasingly, by jihadists. It’s an easy charge to make and one easily believed because most Americans don’t know what it actually is. Even the always annoying and often disgusting Geraldo Rivera--he of the Snidely Whiplash mustache--joined in the entrapment game, perhaps because of a race-based knee-jerk reflex toward defending Hispanic criminals. Appearing on the O’Reily Factor shortly after Hussein’s arrest, Rivera sagely observed that Hussein/Martinez was “just a gullible youngster,” and of course, accused the FBI of entrapment. Hussein, by the way, is 21.

The ‘Lectric Law Library provides a useful, and quite commonly understood, definition of entrapment (here):

“A person is 'entrapped' when he is induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers or their agents to commit a crime that he had no previous intent to commit.”

The LLE also provides a useful, commonly understood, three part test to determine if entrapment has occurred:

“- First, the idea for committing the crime came from the government agents and not from the person accused of the crime.

- Second, the government agents then persuaded or talked the person into committing the crime. Simply giving him the opportunity to commit the crime is not the same as persuading him to commit the crime.

- And third, the person was not ready and willing to commit the crime before the government agents spoke with him.”

In plain English, if someone is inclined to kill innocents in furtherance of Jihad, and the police merely provide the opportunity for that person to act on their clearly professed desires, no entrapment has occurred. Despite the howls of outrage of civil liberties types to the contrary this makes perfect sense; it is absolutely how the police should conduct business.

In the case of Muhammed Hussein, the facts are clear: He came to the attention of the FBI after posting on his Facebook page calls to commit violence against non-Muslims and expressing his hatred for infidels (non-Muslims). The FBI made contact with Hussein through an informant and rapidly determined that he was not just a loud mouthed blowhard with no homicidal intent, but a genuine, home-grown jihadist who was quite serious in his deadly desires. Unless one is willing to say that investigating such a person is a violation of their First Amendment rights and that the mere process of determining their intent amounts to harassment or entrapment, then the FBI did exactly what should and must be expected of them. The alternative is that law enforcement officers must ignore potentially deadly threats in favor of waiting until after bombs explode in the midst of innocents.

What is known of this case suggests that the FBI conducted a textbook, completely legal and honorable, sting. The idea for committing Jihad came from Hussein who announced his intent to the world. The FBI did not talk him into committing the crime and in fact, carefully and on multiple occasions, recorded Hussein expressing his murderous intent, intent that he was more than ready and willing to act upon if only he had the means, means supplied by the FBI. The FBI made such recordings over time because an attorney working an entrapment defense will try to show that their client was, as Rivera suggested, “just a gullible youngster,” minding his own business until the police--who apparently have unlimited time and resources to waste persecuting random citizens--came along and coerced him into trying to blow up a military recruiting center. In this, as in most such cases, the defendant’s own words--as well as his actions--will serve to convict him.

Once again, our security services were not only very good, but lucky, and Americans are alive because of their dedication and skill. Those who cry “entrapment” in such cases, whether media personalities or Congressmen, willfully put themselves on the side of those who would gladly kill us all. We would be well served to remember their names.

Posted by MikeM at 08:05 PM | Comments (2)

December 05, 2010

WikiLeaks is Now A Terrorist Organization

I've been critical of WikiLeaks in the past for several reasons, from the fact that they are pursuing a clear political agenda designed to harm the United States to the highly inflammatory language and distorted context of some of the illicitly garnered information under their control.

I've also been quite clear that I consider Bradley Manning one of worse traitor's in American history (easily the worst in terms of volume) who deserves nothing less than the death penalty for passing along classified information during wartime.

I've been a bit more forgiving of Julian Assange, the glory-hounding promoter and leader of Wikileaks, and of Americans invovled with Wikileaks, but now that I've read of their "Doomsday device" containing unredacted information that assuredly will put lives in danger, I view the group—and individuals in possession of the file who intend to release it—as nothing more or less than information terrorists, and urge that our military, intelligence, and law enforcement assets treat them as such.

At over 1.4GB of information, the NSA and other federal agencies should have no problem identifying and tracking who has downloaded the file, the release of which constitutes a clear and present danger to the United States. All overt official and covert extrajudicial remedies should be authorized by the President to reacquire control over this information.

This is classified information that enemies of our nation are threatening to use against us during wartime, risking the lives of our soldiers and operatives worldwide. They should be hunted with the same vigor as al Qaeda, and offered the same mercies if they resist.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:46 PM | Comments (10)

November 19, 2010

Heavy Metal Moves to the 'Stan

There is a steady escalation of force occurring in Afghanistan, though it seems few in this country realize the pressure being brought to bear. The volume of precision air-delivered munitions has been steadily increasing. The Army has now brought in a handful of futuristic XM25 25mm grenade launchers for field (combat) testing, and if they perform as well as hoped, additional XM25s are assured for wider deployment. On top of that, the Army is introducing a company of M1 Abrams main battle tanks to the conflict for the first time in the nice-year war, with the goal of using the 120mm main gun to crack open Taliban safe houses and fighting positions.

The Abrams will likely excel in Afghanistan as it has in the other environments in which it has been used, but the mil-geek in me wonders if the Stryker-variants armed with 120mm mortars (which have seen use in Iraq, but I don't know about Afghanistan) or the 105mm Mobile Gun variant (still in testing?) wouldn't be a better option for many Afghan missions because of their relative stealth and mobility advantages.

In any event, it appears the Taliban are in for a vicious fight.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:52 AM | Comments (7)

November 17, 2010

Profiteering from the Sheep

Joshua Rhett Miller has made a rather disgusting display of bad journalism on FoxNews.com today, in an article about the TSA's invasive news passenger screening program that either irradiates passengers or results in their sexual assault by TSA employees.

In an apparent effort to buttress the TSA position, Miller goes to Carie Lemack and Mary and Frank Fetchet for their opinions. None of the three are air security professionals, bomb techs or terrorism experts. Their only uniting thread is that they had relatives killed as passengers on planes on 9/11.

This is nothing more or less than a false appeal to authority, as if traumatic loss granted security expertise or insights. The Fetchets and LeMack have no special knowledge. Their opinions are no more relevant to a discussion of air security than is a Kalahari bushman's.

We're plagued by incompetence in Homeland Security, and journalists like Miller are clouding the issue by asking the unqualified for advice.

Neither the millimeter-wave or backscatter X-ray technologies increase security for air passengers, anymore than does taking off your shoes, surrendering corkscrews or nail files, or reducing the size of your mouthwash bottles. All of these are gimmicks developed to give the impression that authorities are making us safer, even as the real gaping holes in air security remain as wide-open as they always have been.

Anyone could walk through the most advanced millimeter-wave or backscatter X-ray machines on the market with enough explosives to down an airliner. This isn't up for debate. It is an unassailable fact.

Homeland Security is spending hundreds of millions of dollars because Janet Napolitano likes to pretend she is worth her salary, while former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff turns a tidy profit from the machines themselves. It isn't about your safety. It's about profiting from your fear, and with something around 80% buying the government's claims, it appears they are succeeding.

Baa. Baa. Baa.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:07 PM | Comments (6)

October 09, 2010

Among Jackals

If one studies the psychological disease known as the "Palestinian cause," revulsion is the only natural response. This is a culture that draws its entire premise for existence from plotting genocide against Jews and eradicating Israel from the map. If you think this is hyperbole you only need read the charters of the terrorist groups that run Palestinian life, sample some of the vile propaganda that they feel their children as television programming, or simply watch how they use their own poisoned young without regard to life or limb, as this video shows.

Watch it once, and you'll notice the rabid attack of a small car by a gang of Palestinian youths. They charge directly into traffic on a narrow street, and one of the junior terrorists is hurled through the air as the drive simply lacks the time to stop as the mob converges.

Watch the video a second time, and you'll note that the rock-throwing monsters are being directed and filmed by Palestinian adults including not less than a half-dozen "journalists" with high end digital still cameras and video cameras to capture the staged event from every angle.

Watch the video a third time, and you suddenly realize that the child getting hit was purposefully orchestrated... in fact, it was required. The Palestinian adults chose a bottleneck in the road where the driver had no room to avoid the children, and that the attack took place on a sharp curve, where he could not see the attack in advance and avoid it.

The children themselves converge from all directions, focused on a spot in front of the car. These Palestinian children were purposefully sent into traffic in the hopes that one or more of them would get hit by a car driven by an Israeli so that they could use the tightly cropped and controlled images to generate more anti-Israeli propaganda.

Think about the kind of people who would send their children into on-coming traffic in hopes they are struck down, and tell me that kind of mindset is something with which you can negotiate.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:22 AM | Comments (7)

August 14, 2010

An Affront from Now to 9/11, to the Shores of Tripoli

Remember when Air Force One buzzed Manhattan for a photo op and spread terror among New York City, still (understandably) sensitive of careening airliners because of 9/11?

The Prince of Snides shows that kind of sensitivity again.

But let me be clear: as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure.

The Won cites Jefferson's views of religious tolerance... accidentally underscoring the fact that the United States has been fighting against militant Islam since the very founding of our nation.

This is also the same Thomas Jefferson who said:

"[a] strict observance of the written law is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to the written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the ends to the means."

We are led—and I use that term with all due reservation—by a would-be ruling class that repeatedly bows in supplication instead of celebrating American exceptionalism. Our current President is just the latest feckless example of that spineless mold.

There are rights, and there are rights. Mass murderers never have the right to prance and pose over the remains of their victims. If Barack Obama doesn't understand that, he simply is not fit to be President, and is barely worthy of being called a citizen.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:27 AM | Comments (21)

August 04, 2010

Congressman: Execute Manning if Guilty

What else needs to be said?

Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told a local radio station on Monday that the charges against Pvt. Bradley Manning are worthy of capital punishment.

"We know for a fact that people will likely be killed because of this information being disclosed," he told Michigan-based WHMI. "That's pretty serious. If they don't charge him with treason, they ought to charge him with murder.

"I argue the death penalty clearly should be considered here," he said. "He clearly aided the enemy to what may result in the death of U.S. soldiers . . . If that is not a capital offense, I don't know what is."


That Bradley Manning may have committed treason because of his politics (he's apparently a huge Rachel Maddow and Media Matters fan) just makes me hope he's given a longer rope at the gallows.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:38 AM | Comments (8)

July 29, 2010

Blue Falcon Bradley Manning Confirmed As Primary Suspect in Wikileaks Afghan Doc DumpAfghan

So tell me, gentle readers... when is the last time a member of the armed forces disgraced his uniform, his fellow servicemen, our allies, and his country this much? He's the anti-Audie Murphy.

The Pentagon is focusing on jailed Army Pfc. Bradley Manning as the main suspect in the leak of tens of thousands of secret U.S. military documents related to the war in Afghanistan, a senior Pentagon official told CNN Wednesday.

Manning, 22, is believed to have accessed a worldwide military classified Internet and e-mail system to download tens of thousands of documents, according to the official, who did not want to be identified because of the ongoing criminal investigation of the soldier.


Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:02 AM | Comments (5)

Breaking: Second Missing Sailor in Afghanistan Found Dead

No details yet, or any indication whether he was killed in the initial ambush, or later. Will update as more information comes in.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:42 AM | Comments (2)

July 28, 2010

Let's Try Bradley Manning for Treason

I was wrong.

The Afghan War documents published by Julian Assange and Wikileaks aren't just a compendium of old news. It also includes the names of Afghan nationals that have been trying to help defeat the Taliban, and now puts hundreds of lives at risk.

One specific example cited by the paper is a report on an interview conducted by military officers of a potential Taliban defector. The militant is named, along with his father and the village in which they live.

"The leaks certainly have put in real risk and danger the lives and integrity of many Afghans," a senior official at the Afghan foreign ministry told The Times on condition of anonymity. "The U.S. is both morally and legally responsible for any harm that the leaks might cause to the individuals, particularly those who have been named. It will further limit the U.S./international access to the uncensored views of Afghans."

One former intelligence official told the paper that the Taliban could launch revenge attacks on "traitors" in the coming days.

The real suspected traitor in this mess is U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, the analyst who bragged to a white hat hacker that he had stolen over a quarter-million military and diplomatic documents and sent them to WikiLeaks. Manning was taken into custody earlier this year after being fingered by the military as the source of the Apache gun camera footage Assange turned into a propaganda film called "Collateral Murder" that Assange used for fund-raising and not a little self-promotion. Manning is also the primary and obvious suspected leaker of these documents, which may be part of the $250,000 he stole.

I argued back in June that Manning should be charged with treason. If he is found to be the source of those documents, his only choice should be between rope, bullets, or a needle.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:49 AM | Comments (12)

July 27, 2010

Winning Hearts And Minds? What About Half-Credit?

A squad of soldiers is given orders to go out and capture a high-value terrorist target in the mountains of Afghanistan. During a firefight, the target is killed, but the combat rages around them, and they are unable to retrieve the body for identification.

One of the soldiers improvises... and may now face charges. I don't see why.

After all, he kept his head:

Just picture the scene as a soldier returns from hunting an arch-enemy. Commanding officer: 'Did you get him?' Soldier: 'Yes, sir.' Commanding officer: 'Are you sure?' Soldier: 'Yes, sir.' Soldier reaches into rucksack and places severed head on table.

Commanding officer: ' ****!' If it happened in a Hollywood movie, the audience would either laugh or applaud. But there was no laughter the other day when this happened for real in Babaji, Afghanistan, current posting for the 1st Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles.

The precise circumstances will not be determined until an official report has been completed, but reliable military sources have confirmed that a Gurkha patrol was sent out with orders to track down a Taliban warlord described as a 'high-value target'.

Having identified their target, a fierce battle ensued during which the warlord was killed. To prove that they had got their man, the Gurkhas attempted to remove the body for identification. Further enemy fire necessitated a fast exit minus corpse. So, an unnamed soldier drew his kukri - the standard-issue Gurkha knife - removed the man's head and legged it.

The Afghans are horrified, and the spineless British, of course, seem intent on punishing the soldier for doing his job to the best of his ability.

Was the beheading barbaric? Did it horrify the Afghans, and strike fear into the hearts of the Taliban and al Qaeda?

Good.

The idea of "winning their hearts and minds" is wonderful, in theory, but striking fear into the hearts of your enemy and those who would aide them is a tactic that has been just as effective throughout history.

Let the Taliban sweat.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:18 PM | Comments (13)

Body of One Missing Sailor Recovered in Afghanistan

He apparently was the sailor killed during the the capture attempt. The second sailor is presumed captured, as the Taliban has claimed. the Taliban hopes to use him as leverage in a prisoner exchange.

There is still no word publicly on why the men left their base alone.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:58 AM | Comments (2)

July 24, 2010

Taliban Claims Two U.S. Soldiers Captured

And worse than the often exaggerated claims of the Taliban, ISAF confirms that two soldiers have gone missing.

"Two International Security Assistance Force service members departed their compound in Kabul City in a vehicle on Friday afternoon and did not return," ISAF said in a brief statement.

"The unit dispatched vehicles and rotary-winged assets to search for them and their vehicle, and the search is ongoing."

The obvious questions is, of course, why did two soldiers leave their base without being part of a larger unit? There is something more than a little suspicious about the circumstances. Hopefully they'll be recovered alive and their COs will be able to question them about that.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:00 PM | Comments (3)

June 29, 2010

Eco-Friendly Terrorist Killing

Environmentally-conscious jihadists will be thrilled to discover that the U.S. Army will now be now be shooting at them with "green" ammunition:

The Army announced today it has begun shipping its new 5.56mm cartridge, the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round, to support warfighters in Afghanistan.

The new M855A1 round is sometimes referred to as "green ammo."

The new round replaces the current M855 5.56mm cartridge that has been used by U.S. troops since the early 1980s.

The M855A1 resulted in a number of significant enhancements not found in the current round, officials said. They explained these include improved hard-target capability, more dependable, consistent performance at all distances, improved accuracy, reduced muzzle flash and a higher velocity.

During testing, the M855A1 performed better than current 7.62mm ball ammunition against certain types of targets, blurring the performance differences that previously separated the two rounds.

The projectile incorporates these improvements without adding weight or requiring additional training.

According to Lt. Col. Jeffrey K. Woods, the program's product manager, the projectile is "the best general purpose 5.56mm round ever produced."

"The best general purpose 5.56mm round ever produced."

I can't decide... is that an oxymoron?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:30 AM | Comments (7)

June 23, 2010

Selfless Warrior

President Obama's hand-picked general to lead the war in Afghanistan barely held ground against the Taliban, and was losing the bureaucratic battle to Obama's even more inept civilian appointees; an incompetent ambassador, a clueless national security advisor, and of course, a defeatist President. Instead of losing Afghanistan due to incompetent Democratic leadership, Gen. Stanley McCrystal fragged his civilian leadership and his career, to open the door for the next general and give him a chance to win where McCrystal was not allowed.

Into this gap steps General David Petraeus, the general who broke Sunni and Shia insurgencies in Iraq and ended the war there are clearly as any insurgency can ever be defeated.

Most will applaud General Petraeus' decision to take command in Afghanistan, as it seems logical to have the architect of one counterinsurgency success take over what appears on the surface to be a similar effort.

But what most will not realize is that General Petraeus demoted himself to lead this war. The general who led Americas' efforts in the entire region is stepping back down to take over one grinding, thankless campaign.

By doing so he risks his legacy. He risks defeat in a land where outsiders have battled and lost for a thousand years. But he knows—better than any of us—that he is the best man to lead this fight. If anyone can win this war, he can.

God be with you General, and those in your command.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:42 PM | Comments (1)

June 22, 2010

CNN: McChrystal Submits Resignation

Not confirmed, but not out of line.

Now, if we can get a replacement that actually allows our soldiers and Marines to shoot the enemy...

Via MediaLizzy on Twitter.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:56 PM | Comments (5)

June 21, 2010

Free Speech Meets Democratic Arson

Robert Stacey McCain seems to think he figured out why people become Democrats.

I'm not convinced that is the whole truth, but it does help explain why some folks get so fired up when called out for their delusional beliefs.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2010

Eighth Tarheel Terror Suspect Captured in Kosovo

Still one to go:

Kosovo police on Thursday arrested an ethnic Albanian man suspected of having supported a planned terrorist attack in North Carolina, they said Thursday.

Bajram Asllani, 29, a native of Mitrovico, Kosovo, was arrested following an extradition request from the United States, police said. He faces charges of providing material support to terrorists and conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure persons.

An April 19 criminal complaint unsealed Thursday alleges that Asllani conspired with eight men charged last July with plotting a series of terrorist attacks overseas and securing weapons and training in North Carolina.

Seven suspects – Daniel Patrick Boyd, 39, his sons, Dylan Boyd, 22, and Zakariya "Zak" Boyd, 20, and Hysen Sherifi, 24, Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 22, Ziyad Yaghi, 21, and Anes Subasic, 33 – are being held in the U.S. An eighth suspect, Jude Kenan Mohammad, 20, is believed to be in Pakistan.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2010

Obama's Love Letter to Terrorism

Dear Gaza,

You elected a terrorist group to lead you. You cheered as they threw screaming rivals from the tops of buildings onto the streets below with a sickening thud, amassed weapons to carry out their chartered goal of the genocide of the Israeli people, and provided exquisite "poor me" theatrics to the media worthy of a Tony award, even as they raked in millions from selling stolen aid shipments on the black market.

For creating all this, when you could have taken the easy way out and chosen peace and prosperity, you deserve an award.

How does $400 million sound?

With all my love,

Barack

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:11 PM | Comments (17)

June 08, 2010

Idiot: NJ Jihadist Was "Death to All Juice" Guy

D'oh.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2010

Turkish Terrorist Autopsies Suggest They Were Shot By Their Own Men

First the spin, then the facts:

Nine Turkish men on board the Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times and five were killed by gunshot wounds to the head, according to the vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, which carried out the autopsies for the Turkish ministry of justice today.

The results revealed that a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back, said Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the council of forensic medicine.

The findings emerged as more survivors gave their accounts of the raids. Ismail Patel, the chairman of Leicester-based pro-Palestinian group Friends of al-Aqsa, who returned to Britain today, told how he witnessed some of the fatal shootings and claimed that Israel had operated a "shoot to kill policy".

He calculated that during the bloodiest part of the assault, Israeli commandos shot one person every minute. One man was fatally shot in the back of the head just two feet in front him and another was shot once between the eyes. He added that as well as the fatally wounded, 48 others were suffering from gunshot wounds and six activists remained missing, suggesting the death toll may increase.

The new information about the manner and intensity of the killings undermines Israel's insistence that its soldiers opened fire only in self defence and in response to attacks by the activists.

Nice try, but no cigar.

Let's get some facts straight, shall we?

Less than a dozen Israeli soldiers armed with paintball guns and sidearms fast-roped to the deck of the Mavi Marmara, where they ran into a buzzsaw of Turkish mercenaries wearing ceramic body armor and armed with metal rods, knives, and yes, firearms. That the lynch mob was armed with guns was confirmed by the ships own captain, who saw them throw overboard as Israeli reinforcements arrived.

Each soldier in the initial boarding party was surrounded upon touch-down, and tackled by groups of Turkish zealots. All told, estimates are that between 60-100 thugs pounced upon the handful of soldiers. Three of the soldiers were severely injured before the last soldier on the helo even hit the deck; two had been shot by the terrorists, and a third soldier had had his head smashed open with a metal rod. Three other soldiers had ben knocked unconscious and dragged below decks in hopes of making them hostages.

A maximum of four soldiers fired killing shots into the lynch mob. We know this because the Israeli Staff Sergeant that was the last soldier on deck killed six of the nine with his sidearm, a Glock pistol. Because of their position, all shots were straight on at close range, into the heads and chests of their charging targets.

But that does not match what we see the Turkish corner's forensics tells us, Indeed he adds quite a bit of new and useful information to the story, that the media can't spin its way out of, no matter how hard they try.

The corner speaks of his mercenary countrymen being shot from behind, in the back and back of the head. Since the Israeli soldiers at this time had been forced back into a single small defensive position as the lynch mob continued to advance with weapons in a frontal rush, this strongly suggests that at least half the rounds that hit Ibrahim Bilgen and Fulkan Dogan were fired by their fellow mercenaries behind them.

The other dead bore similar wounds, with shots to the head from the front (fired by the Israelis) and shots to the back from behind, most likely fired by other terrorists.

We know well from previous encounters in Gaza and Lebanon that Israel's enemies think nothing of killing their own in order to blame the Jews for their deaths.

This is simply the first time that an unwitting coroner on their side has given us medical evidence that those killed died at their countrymen's hands.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:07 PM | Comments (14)

June 04, 2010

Who Paid the Turkish Terrorists on the Mavi Marmara?

The Jerusalem Post ran an interview today with one of the Israeli soldiers that attempted to search the blockade runner Mavi Marmara as it attempted to breach the join Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza strip.

The soldier in question was the senior-most noncom on the mission, and the last soldier to fast-rope down to the ship from the helicopter hovering overhead. By the time he hit the deck, two more senior officers had already been shot by Turkish "peace activists" wearing heavy ceramic body armor, and a third officer was severely injured after having his skull crushed with the heavy rods some of the terrorists were using as weapons.

The soldier has the other commandos form a defensive perimeter around their wounded comrades, and when the terrorists pressed their attack, they opened fire to keep from being overrun. The soldier in question killed six of the nine Turkish terrorists killed in the attempted blockade running with his handgun at point-blank range.

When the ship was finally captured and brought into port, the attackers were found to have large sums of money upon them; apparent payment for the pre-planned assault. According to the captain of the Mavi Marmara, the Turks were armed as well, and fired shots at the Israelis. He apparently watched the terrorists throw their weapons over the side of the ship, and forensic teams located shell casings that did not match Israeli weapons.

Turkish terrorists/mercenaries (chose the terminology you like best, as both would seem to apply) were paid substantial amounts of money by someone to stage an international incident, attacking soldiers simply attempting to enforce a blockade of an enemy port where ships loaded with hundreds of tons Iranian weapons had previously attempted to dock.

The question I have is whether or not turkey's increasingly Islamic government had a hand in staging this incident, and if they did, whether they are the kind of "ally" the United States or NATO really needs.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:37 AM | Comments (7)

June 03, 2010

Turk Born in America Was One of the Aggressors In Blockade Runner Assault; More Ships Coming

Furkan Dogan was born to Turkish parents and left our country at the age of two, apparently never to return. While technically holding citizenship, he is a birthright American only, an accident of geography and in no obvious way attached our nation's culture. To call him an American is something of a joke.

Dogan was one of the nine Muslim terrorist sympathizers killed as they tried to lynch Israeli soldiers carrying out an inspection of their ship, a ship attempting to run a blockade of Gaza. News accounts claim that Dogan was shot in the head four times and once in the chest. The shot placement and other known conditions of the raid suggests Dogan was attacking Israeli soldiers at point-blank range when he was killed.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a joint sea blockade of Gaza because of legitimate concerns that Iran is attempting to provide the terrorist group Hamas with long-range rockets to destabilize the region and target Israeli civilian population centers. Late last year the MV Francop was intercepted carrying small arms ammunition, rockets, grenades and artillery shells from Iran to Gaza.

The MV Rachel Corrie, a decrepit one-time beer hauler, is part of the next group of ships attempting to run the blockade. Named after a leftist radical and pro-terrorist sympathizer killed by a bulldozer attempting to protect Hamas weapons-smuggling tunnels, the Corrie is thought to be carrying cement, one of the materials that Israel and Egypt do not allow to be imported into Gaza because of concerns that Hamas will use the building material to construct hardened bunkers.

Other materials being carried by the vessel are already in abundance in Gaza, supplied over far more practical land routes.

The Irish-flagged Corrie, like its namesake, isn't providing anything of value to the people of Gaza, and merely provides a small degree of political cover to a genocidal terrorist group.

Update: The Corrie turns around... for now.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:58 PM | Comments (17)

Shock: Muslim Claims Israel Faked Weapons Recovered During Blockade Runner Raid

TIP: If you are going to accuse a government of faking photos of weapons and military material captured during a legal search of the vessel carrying the contraband, you should probably make sure they don't also have video of the ship and the weapons as well.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:07 AM | Comments (6)

May 21, 2010

Politically-correct ROE Seeks to Turn Afghanistan into Beirut

God forbid we send out soldiers into battle with loaded weapons:

Commanders have reportedly ordered a U.S. military unit in Afghanistan to patrol in a manner that could handicap them.

Some soldiers are being ordered to conduct patrols without a round chambered in their weapons, The US Report has learned from an anonymous source at a forward operating base in Afghanistan. Our source was unsure if the order came from his unit or if it affected other units.

On war correspondent Michael Yon's Facebook page, commenters stated that this is a common practice in Iraq, while others said that it is occurring in Afghanistan as well. According to military protocol, "Amber" status requires weapons to have a loaded magazine, but the safety on and no round chambered.

"The idea that any combat unit would conduct any operation, including patrolling and even manning a security post -- in which direct action may-or-may not take place -- and not having weapons loaded, borders on being criminally negligent in my opinion," says Lt. Col. W. Thomas Smith Jr., a recognized expert on terrorism and military/national defense issues. "This is nothing more than infusing politically correct restrictions into already overly restrictive rules of engagement. And this PC nonsense is going to get people killed."

I wonder how high up this order originated, and with good reason. The order to put the Marines in Beirut on "amber" status is rumored to have come when then Senator Joe Biden became infuriated when he visited the base and found that the guards were armed with locked and loaded weapons.

This email came to me from a Marine roughly two years ago:

I am a former Marine, having served from '78-'86 When the barracks in Beirut went down, three Marines I knew went with it. Two were Marines I had attended a school with, and were acquaintances at best. The third was a Marine captain that had, immediately before his mission in Beirut, been my company executive officer.

Many years later, I met another former Marine who had been a senior NCO there. We began to exchange stories of our time in the Corps, as former Marines are prone to do. When the subject of the Middle East arose, he told me a disturbing tale. In a nutshell, Biden, a few weeks before the bombing, had visited the barracks. He had a fit at the defensive posture of the unit, which had prudently set up barricades, automatic weapons emplacements, etc. Per Biden, they were not deployed as appropriate to their "peacekeeping" mission - too warlike, and "sending the wrong message."

He demanded that the fortifications be dismantled. The senior NCO on the scene respectfully reminded the senator that he was not in the chain of command. After throwing a tantrum, Biden and the rest of the congressional fact-finding mission left for home. A few days later, word came down from the Pentagon to comply with Biden's instruction. Evidently, Biden had located a spineless officer at the Pentagon. Also included in the order were some changes to the ROE (Rules of Engagement) that slowed response to any attacks. (Marines were not allowed to keep their weapons loaded) The one Marine, a young lance corporal, who was able to fire on the truck as it headed toward the barracks was only able to do so because he had kept his weapon loaded in spite of the order, after the unit first sergeant had hinted he would turn a blind eye. This is the same young Marine, that suffering from survivor guilt, took his own life shortly after.

I was unable to confirm this story at the time, just as I am unable to confirm it now. We do know, however, that our troops in Afghanistan are faced with absurd rules of engagement created by REMFs (I'll let you look that up on your own), bureaucrats, and politicians like those presently in power.

It appears they won't be satisfied until they get our soldiers and Marines massacred... again.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:11 PM | Comments (8)

May 15, 2010

Religion of Peace Attacks Cartoonist... Again

Let them have their way in all things, or face their violent wrath:

The home of a Swedish artist who once drew a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad as a dog has been hit by a suspected arson attack, police said Saturday.

Lars Vilks, who lives in Nyhamnslage in southern Sweden, was not at home during the attack late Friday night and no one was reported injured.

It was the latest in a week of attacks on the 53-year-old cartoonist, who was assaulted Tuesday by a man while he lectured at a university and saw his Web site apparently attacked by hacker on Wednesday.

I've long tried to give Muslims the benefit of the doubt, hoping that despite 1,300+ years of evidence to the contrary that it was extremists that misunderstood or perverted Islam that were the root of Islamic terrorism and suppression.

But that simply isn't the case, it it?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:58 AM | Comments (6)

May 05, 2010

Bomber Admits Terror Motive

Shahzad, who rather infamously hates George W. Bush, was inspired to bomb Times Square by the drone attacks he saw carried out against the Taliban in Pakistan on the orders of the Obama Administration:

It was payback.

The Connecticut man charged yesterday with the botched Times Square car bombing confessed to trying to slaughter innocent people in retaliation for US drone attacks that wiped out the leadership of his beloved Taliban, The Post has learned.

Admitted terrorist Faisal Shahzad -- who copped to training in explosives in the past year with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, the leading extremist Islamic group in his native Pakistan -- said he was driven to evil by the slew of deaths among leaders of the terror group, law-enforcement sources revealed yesterday.

His training came in a tribal area where American drone aircraft have pummeled members of the Pakistan Taliban and al Qaeda in the past year.

The article goes on to mention that the current Administration is downplaying Shahzad's motive, no doubt hoping to stem of the chorus of "I told you so!" yips from his anti-war left flank. Obama has not only validated the Bush Administration's use of drone warfare in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but escalated it significantly with brutal effect.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:32 PM | Comments (3)

May 04, 2010

Comfortably Dumb

David Neiwert at Crooks and Liars makes an asinine and snarky post this morning about the capture of Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad, writing:

The next time you hear some right-winger (most notably Dick Cheney) sneer at the Obama administration's "law enforcement approach to terrorism," remember this.

Neiwert is either dumb as a post, or worse, assumes his readers are.

The law enforcement approach to terrorism that conservatives disagree with concerns terrorist events and suspects outside of U.S. territory.

Many liberal Democrats prefer to treat international terrorism as an international law enforcement matter, a laughable strategy considering the ideological (and occasional state) support many terrorists receive in the countries they use as their base of operations. The military approach—which, I hasten to add, has been largely adopted by the Obama Administration because it works—involves surveillance and military interdiction instead of arrest warrants. The Predator drones strikes inside Pakistan that have stepped up under Obama, and occasional raids in the Horn of Africa, are perfect examples of this in practice.

I defy Neiwert to product anyone—former Vice President Dick Cheney included—who calls for military strikes on American soil against suspected terrorists. No, we trust our federal, state and local law enforcement officers to use their expertise to track down terrorists on American soil, and they did just that in this instance, and admirably well.

Niewert is abusing a strawman. Worse, he's insulting the intelligence of his readers.

Or at least I hope he is.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:24 AM | Comments (9)

Arrest Made in Times Square Terror Attack

The usual suspects:

Federal authorities arrested a U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent Monday night at New York's JFK International Airport in connection with Saturday's attempted Times Square car bombing.

The man was identified as Faisal Shahzad, of Connecticut, Attorney General Eric Holder said. Shahzad was attempting to board a flight to Dubai at the time of his arrest, Holder said.

A total of three people were taken off the flight, but information is scarce about the other two.

And the Taliban video claim? It was posted from Connecticut as well. As it starred known Taliban, that video claim that this was a Taliban attack seems even more solid than earilier.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:12 AM | Comments (11)

May 02, 2010

Taliban Claims Responsibility for Times Square Bomb Attempt

Let's see Mayor Bloomberg continue to downplay this:

A top Pakistani Taliban commander took credit for yesterday's failed car bomb attack in New York City.

Qari Hussain Mehsud, the top bomb maker for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, said he takes "fully responsibility for the recent attack in the USA." Qari Hussain made the claim on an audiotape accompanied by images that was released on a YouTube website that calls itself the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan News Channel.

The tape has yet to be verified, but US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal believe it is legitimate. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan News Channel on YouTube was created on April 30. Officials believe it was created to announce the Times Square attack, and Qari Hussain's statement was pre-recorded.

"This attack is a revenge for the great & valuable martyred leaders of mujahideen," Qari Hussain said. He listed Baitullah Mehsud, the former leader of the Pakistani Taliban who was killed in a Predator strike in August 2009, and Abu Omar al Baghdadi, the former leader of al Qaeda Islamic State of Iraq who was killed by Iraqi forces in mid-April. And although he was not mentioned, an image of Abu Ayyub al Masri, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was also displayed in the images accompanying the audiotape.

You can view the video yourself at The Long War Journal. I don't think we can emphasis enough that this has every appearance of being a legitimate Taliban attack inside the United States, plotted overseas, and not the work of an isolated homegrown jihadi acting on his own initiative.

The bomber obviously has access to the explosives and vehicles as they are extremely common components. The question now is whether the bomber has orders to make a second attempt.

(h/t AllahPundit on Twitter)

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:24 AM | Comments (24)

Possible Fuel-Air Explosive Terrorist Attack In Times Square Goes Awry

I'm just getting up to speed on the news of a failed terrorist attack in New York City' Times Square, where authorities responded to the scene of a smoking vehicle after calls about an explosion, and found the bomb:

Police officers from the emergency service unit and firefighters flooded the area and were troubled by the hazard lights and running engine, and by the fact that the S.U.V. was oddly angled in the street. At this point, a firefighter from Ladder 4 reported hearing several "pops" from within the vehicle. The police also learned that the Pathfinder had the wrong license plates on it.

Members of the Police Department’s bomb squad donned protective gear, broke the Pathfinder's back windows and sent in a "robotic device" to "observe" it, said Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne, the police department's chief spokesman.

Inside, they discovered three canisters of propane like those used for barbecue grills, two five-gallon cans of gasoline, consumer-grade fireworks — the apparent source of the "pops" — and two clocks with batteries, the mayor said. He said the device "looked amateurish."

Mr. Browne said: "It appeared it was in the process of detonating, but it malfunctioned."

I'm going to disagree with the Deputy Commissioner, and suggest there is nothing amatuerish about this bomb. I agree with Allahpundit that appears the 3 bulk propane tanks and 10 gallons of gas were to be the explosives in a fuel-air explosive, one of the deadliest weapons in modern warfare. While not as polished as those used by mlitary forces (including our own), the explosive power of these devices in IED form are fierce, as a burster charge spreads a flammable cloud of fuel, that is then detonated by a secondary charge to form a massive overpressure wave that is extremely lethal.

This particular device seems to have failed because the bomb builder simply got his chemistry slightly askew, and had the fuel air mix inside the vehicle too low (which I somewhat doubt), or more likely, had too much fuel in the cabin of the vehicle so that the potential bomb didn't have the air it needed to breath and detonate properly. If the fireworks had ignited when the fuel-air mixture was optimum, we'd be reading a story of carnage this morning like those we've seen in Iraq, with hundreds dead.

They need to find the individual terrorist or terrorist group behind this and fast, because odds are that they now know exactly what they did wrong with this bomb, and they are not likley to make the same mistake again.

Update: South Park related? The evidence is thin, but it isn't entirely unreasonable.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:35 AM | Comments (5)

April 19, 2010

Top AQI Terrorists Killed

It has taken several years of hard work, but the top two leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq have been confirmed killed in a joint U.S./Iraqi operation:

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki announced Monday that two top insurgent leaders had been killed, including a somewhat mythic figure who has operated under the name Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. Mr. Baghdadi has been reported dead or detained several times previously, and his very existence had been called into question a few years ago by American military leaders.

After Mr. Maliki’s press conference, the American military released a statement verifying that Mr. Baghdadi was killed in a joint raid between Iraqi and United States forces in the dark hours of Sunday morning near Tikrit, near Saddam Hussein’s hometown.

Also killed, according to Mr. Maliki and American officials, was Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, also known as Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a largely Iraqi group that includes some foreign leadership.

The simple fact of the matter is that al-Baghdadi was a fictional character when he began, and was a voice played by an actor. Later a former officer-turned-terrorist picked up the moniker, and it is this second al-Baghdadi that was killed.

al-Masri's death was the most important of the two, but it was nice that both were terminated together, which should serve to fragment the group further.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:42 PM | Comments (1)

April 05, 2010

Tangos Down: WikiLeaks Misrepresents Apache Assault on Medhi Army Militia

WikiLeaks has posted video of what they decided to frame as "collateral murder."

Anyone with a passing knowledge of the strict rules of engagment our soldiers and aviators follow, and who took the time to pay attention to the audio and video, cannot be swayed by the deceptive rhetoric offered up by WikiLeaks. While the video below confirms the deaths of two Reuters employees and the wounding of two children, it also confirms the presence of weapons within the first few seconds of the video playing.

Two Reuters employees made the mistake of joining a ragtag group of Muqtada al Sadr's Medhi Army militia, some of which were still clearly armed, with at least one folding stock AK-pattern assault rifle (3:41, top left) and an RPG-7 (3:44, second from top left) antitank rocket carried by men at the rear of the group (the Reuters employees were near the front) in the video that WikiLeaks chose to show us.

As for the father who made the tragic mistake of trying to intercede in a hot combat zone with dust still rising and blood flowing... I admire his courage, but question his intelligence. He put his children in harm's way, and broke laws of war that civilians in their fifth year of war should have known by rote.

People die in war, and those who die aren't always combatants. It sucks.

But it isn't a crime.

We would all be better off if some of those who decided to opine about things they don't understand would withold their ignorant commentary so that those who do understand can cut through the deception offered by WikiLeaks' editorializing.

Update: Dan Froomkin, fired from the Washington Post for too-liberal bias, captures the idiocy we're seeing from terrorist defenders in just two short paragraphs:

Two crewmen share a laugh when a Bradley fighting vehicle runs over one of the corpses...

[snip]

...The helicopter crew, which was patrolling an area that had been the scene of fierce fighting that morning, said they spotted weapons on members of the first group -- although the video shows one gun, at most. The crew also mistook a telephoto lens for a rocket-propelled grenade.

The vehicle than ran over what appears to be human remains in a vacant lot filled with trash and rubble was decidedly not a 27-ton Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV), a tracked personnel carrier similar to a tank, but was instead a much smaller 4-wheeled Humvee, as is obvious in the video.

Froomkin, who can't tell a tank from a truck, wants us to believe he has the discernment to tell a telephoto lens from a grenade launcher carried by a different individual at the rear of the group in the opening of the video (3:44, top of frame, second man from left).

Update: Got a call from BBC Radio, and may be on World Have Your Say between 1:00-2:00PM ET to discuss this story.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:57 PM | Comments (21)

February 22, 2010

Joe Stack's Daughter Calls Him a "Hero"

In case you've already forgotten the name, Joe Stack was the man who set his house on fire last week, and then suicide-crashed his small plane into a building containing IRS offices in Austin, TX, killing Stack and Vernon Hunter, an IRS employee.

Samantha Bell, Stack's daughter, considers him a hero. Sorta:

The daughter of a man who crashed his small plane into an Internal Revenue Service building called her father a hero for his anti-government views but said his actions, which killed a tax service employee, were "inappropriate."

Joe Stack's adult daughter, Samantha Bell, spoke to ABC's "Good Morning America" from her home in Norway. Asked during a phone interview broadcast Monday if she considered her father a hero, she said: "Yes. Because now maybe people will listen."

It sounds like someone is living in what we here at CY like to call a "community-based reality." I think it is normal for most well-adjusted people to hold a somewhat idolized view of their parents, even as they know that they are far from perfect. But when one of your parents spends the better part of his life making the same bad decision over and over again, and then decides that his bull-headedness is justification to try to murder a building full of people, it's time to shake off that idealized view, and realize that you know, Dad was a real prick.

Dennis the Peasant, an accountant by trade, didn't know Stack in person, but certainly has had his fill of the type. I have no reason to doubt Dennis' insights. Stack was a crank and tax cheat, who blamed others for his failures.

The tax code is a mess, and is in drastic need of reform. I think everyone outside of the Beltway can agree on that. But problems with the tax code—and multiple attempts to defraud it—aren't grounds for mass homicide.

And Joe Stack is anything but a hero.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:50 AM | Comments (7)

February 20, 2010

Finally, Some Common Sense Out of Holder's Justice Department

While it is sure to cause many a lefty to wet themselves, John Yoo and Jay Bybee have been cleared of any wrong-doing in their post 9/11 work providing legal advice on enhanced interrogation techniques. It's refreshing to see that even a Justice Department as corrupt and biased as this one hasn't been able to criminalize honestly argued opinion, even though they certainly tried.

Jennifer Rubin, who has followed this fare more closely that I, dissects the decision, and makes the case that if Holder really wants to prosecute those in Justice who have done wrong, he should start by investigating his own people.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:39 AM | Comments (5)

February 19, 2010

Obama Appoints Nine Terrorist Lawyers to Justice

You've got to be kidding me.

If Byron York is correct, the CIA needs to start flying Reapers over Eric Holder's terrorist advocate-filled Justice Department:

Attorney General Eric Holder says nine Obama appointees in the Justice Department have represented or advocated for terrorist detainees before joining the Justice Department. But he does not reveal any names beyond the two officials whose work has already been publicly reported. And all the lawyers, according to Holder, are eligible to work on general detainee matters, even if there are specific parts of some cases they cannot be involved in.

At least nine Obama-appointed terrorist lawyers work in the very department that is supposed to be trying to put them away behind bars. This strikes me as a conflict of interest whether or not these appointees recuse themselves from cases involving their (hopefully former) clients.

Honestly, what the hell is wrong with these people?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:57 PM | Comments (6)

January 08, 2010

There Are No Coincidences

A U.S. solider deployed in Afghanistan captured the mastermind of the attack that killed his cousin three years before. When TankerBabe says she got chills hearing this story, I can understand why.

Via Thunder Run.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:15 AM | Comments (1)

January 02, 2010

Xe Contractors Killed In CIA Attack

Via WRAL:

Two CIA contractors killed in a bombing in Afghanistan Wednesday were employed by North Carolina-based Xe, formerly known as Blackwater, according to CNN.

A former intelligence officer told CNN that two of seven deceased worked for the private security and training firm based in Moyock, a small community in Currituck County.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the bombing at a former military base on the edge of Khost city, the capital of Khost province, which borders Pakistan and is a Taliban stronghold. Six other CIA workers were wounded.

It would be interesting to know what services the Xe contractors were performing. Theoretically, security for government employees would have been their primary role. Just as obviously, that security was breached.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:51 AM | Comments (3)

January 01, 2010

Obama The Appeaser May Have Violated Executive Order Against Negotiating With Terrorists

I completely missed this story yesterday, where Bill Roggio noted that the Obama Administration fell into a trap laid by Iranian-backed extremists, and released terrorists that killed American soldiers:

The US has released the leader of an Iranian-backed Shia terror group behind the kidnapping and murder of five US soldiers in Karbala in January 2007.

Qais Qazali, the leader of the Asaib al Haq or the League of the Righteous, was set free by the US military and transferred to Iraqi custody in exchange for the release of British hostage Peter Moore, US military officers and intelligence officials told The Long War Journal. The US military directly implicated Qais in the kidnapping and murder of five US soldiers in Karbala in January 2007.

"We let a very dangerous man go, a man whose hands are stained with US and Iraqi blood," a military officer said. "We are going to pay for this in the future."

The US military has maintained that the release of members and leaders of the League of the Righteous is related to a reconciliation agreement between the terror group and the Iraqi government, but some US military officers disagree.

"The official line is the release of Qazali is about reconciliation, but in reality this was a prisoner swap," a military intelligence official said.

The Brit released in this uneven exchange was purposefully kidnapped to be used as swap-bait, and our American Chamberlain showed he was precisely the cultured rube they expected.

Today, Roggio follows up by noting that Obama may have violated an executive order issued by Ronald Reagan that expressly forbid negotiating with terrorists.

To the best I can determine, there are two possible answers to the question of whether or not Obama violated National Security Decision Directive Number 207.

The first possible answer is that yes, the Administration did violate the Directive. If that is the case, I'm not sure what the ramifications could or should be. I suspect that even if criminal laws were broken by the White House, the Holder Justice Department would not seek to prosecute. In the unlikely event that they would prosecute, you can be assured that a lower-level staffer would be the fall guy.

The other possible answer—and perhaps the more likely one—is that shortly after taking office President Obama issued an executive order of his own that authorizes negotiations with terrorists.

Whether he broke the Reagan-era directive or cravenly issued a secret one of his own, the fact of the matter is that our nation's enemies know that taking hostages is now a viable option to win concessions with this President.

Hell of a job, Barry.

Hell of a job.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:08 PM | Comments (6)

December 31, 2009

Houston Wets Itself Over Glorified Pipe

Read this story and you'd think that Houston Police ran across a terrorist with heavy-duty, anti-tank weaponry.

It isn't until you get to almost the end of the article that they finally reveal that the "rocket launcher" is nothing more or less than a fiberglass tube.

Prosecutors said there are no state charges for having the unarmed launcher or possessing Jihadist writings, unless they contain some type of threat.

The former director of Houston's FBI office said rocket launchers can be dangerous if they're in the wrong hands.

"I don't know any other use for those weapons except in combat," Don Clark said. "I've had them in combat, used them in combat. That's what they are used for."

The weapon is the warhead and rocket; the tube is a single-use disposable item.

So one of two things happened here. This jihadi wannabe acquired a used (and therefore useless) AT-4 tube (probably via an online aution like this one), or he bought the Airsoft version.

I'm quite sure it can be terrifying. It just simply isn't a weapon, no matter how much drama the media attempted to stir up here to justify the amont of time they spent on this story.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:27 PM | Comments (4)

December 27, 2009

Terrorist Not Only One With Pants On Fire

I'e been offline spending time with family over the past few days and so I'm behind the curve on the story of the terrorist that tried to detonate a bomb on a flight about to land in Detroit. The attempted detonation of a PETN device with a nitroglycerine detonator failed. Instead of bringing down the airliner, the explosive misfired and burned instead of exploding. A Dutch passenger is credited with being a hero for his actions in the immediate wake of the failed attack for subduing the would-be terrorist, but the simple fact of the matter is that if the device had functioned properly, the plane would have likely gone down, killing hundreds. Quite simply, God and bad chemistry was on our side.

It was therefore quite revolting to see DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano claim that "the system worked." The system was an utter and unmitigated failure.

The system allowed one of the most dangerous explosives known to man—one known to be a favorite of al Qaeda—aboard a flight into the United States in sufficient quantity to destroy a plane in midair. The device used one of the oldest known and most common explosives in the world as a trigger as well. As for the bomber himself, he was a known al Qaeda affiiliate who had been turned in by his own father for his extremism.

In what way, Janet Napolitano, did Homeland Security "work" when it let a known terrorist fly into the United States with a bomb strapped to his body?

The simple fact of the matter is that our security measures failed once again, and the DHS secretary is trying to cover for a group that repeatedly fail in their primary mission, while wasting time and energy and focus in attempts to demonize her political opponents.

The DHS failed, and failed miserably. Perhaps if they spent more time attempting to hunt down terrorists, and less time trying to smear Americans that don't like Barack Obama, terrorists like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab wouldn't be able to make it onto US-bound flights in the first place.

Jonah Goldberg wants Napolitano fired, but I'm not sure what purpose that would serve. Looking at this Administration's raft of failed and marginally competent appointees, do you really expect that any replacement nominee would be any less ideologically-drive or more effective?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:58 PM | Comments (10)

December 22, 2009

Camouflage FAIL

The British are breaking out a new camouflage pattern for the first time in 40 years, as their standard issue DPM (Disrupted Pattern Material) isn't faring well in the varied terrain of Afghanistan, where soldiers have to shift from sun-washed arid desert backdrops to the deeper and darker colors of lush green river valleys within the same mission. Instead of helping hide British troops, their current uniforms were making them stand out. The new uniforms, however, won't hide the poor material support British soldiers are otherwise receiving.

The new pattern is based upon Crye Multicam, a pattern originally developed for the U.S Army that was shelved in favor of the digital Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) currently being worn by the Army... which is the same pattern that is failing American soldiers in Afghanistan.

Now the U.S Army is taking a second look at Multicam, along with different and darker version of the current UCP.

My advice?

Better start stocking up on the discount flecktarn camo from your local Army/Navy store, before Uncle Sam recognizes the deal and buys it all up.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:08 PM | Comments (5)

December 14, 2009

Beyond Doubt: Iran Working on Nuke Trigger

There is no more point in denial:

Confidential intelligence documents obtained by The Times show that Iran is working on testing a key final component of a nuclear bomb.

The notes, from Iran’s most sensitive military nuclear project, describe a four-year plan to test a neutron initiator, the component of a nuclear bomb that triggers an explosion. Foreign intelligence agencies date them to early 2007, four years after Iran was thought to have suspended its weapons programme...

[snip]

"Although Iran might claim that this work is for civil purposes, there is no civil application," said David Albright, a physicist and president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, which has analysed hundreds of pages of documents related to the Iranian programme. "This is a very strong indicator of weapons work."

And there is little doubt that when Iran has what they consider "enough" nuclear weapons, they will not be used to deter war, but to trigger Armageddon.

It seems our dithering President has a very simple choice.

He can be remembered as the American President who did nothing, the President that let Iran build nuclear weapons and trigger a nuclear exchange with Israel that killed tens of millions, including hundreds of thousands of American servicemen and civilians in the region. Barack Obama—the man who did nothing and watched the world burn.

Or Obama can be vilified by his left fringe as a warmonger, and try to use military force to deny Iran the last few critical components that separates them from becoming the world's more dangerous nuclear-armed regime.

I don't envy his decision, but given the choices, it still seems to be rather easy one.

Update: Sky News claims it has confirmed the authenticity of the evidence:

Sky News foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall said: "Sources confirm that the document is genuine. However, the Government and the US will be reluctant to wave it about just yet.

"There's three weeks to go until President Obama's end-of-the-year deadline for his policy of engagement with Iran.

"The big push for sanctions will not begin until January. No-one wants to pre-empt that."

Dither, dither, dither...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:09 AM | Comments (6)

December 11, 2009

Horrors! NT Times Slams CIA/Blackwater for... Poor Project Managment Skills

The New York Times is still deeply involved in fighting the ghosts of President's past, trumpeting the headline, Blackwater Guards Tied to Secret Raids by the C.I.A.

Considering the hype, I was expecting something explosive—maybe they helped snatch potential terrorists off the streets of Cairo, or maybe even here in the U.S.—or at least something mildly titillating.

Instead, the Times delivers this:

Private security guards from Blackwater Worldwide participated in some of the C.I.A.’s most sensitive activities — clandestine raids with agency officers against people suspected of being insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan and the transporting of detainees, according to former company employees and intelligence officials.

Really? This is the big story? While the confirmation that Blackwater operatives might have participated in raids in combat zones is newsworthy, it isn't exactly surprising, is it? That they've also escorted detainees being transported from one location to another is frankly boring.

But maybe there's more too this story than the lede suggests.

The raids against suspects occurred on an almost nightly basis during the height of the Iraqi insurgency from 2004 to 2006, with Blackwater personnel playing central roles in what company insiders called "snatch and grab" operations, the former employees and current and former intelligence officers said.

Now, that is a bit more interesting. They were engaging almost nightly, and played central roles. The C.I.A. partnering with mercs... sounds like a thousand B-rated action movies, but hey, I like those.

Let's see what else they've got.

Several former Blackwater guards said that their involvement in the operations became so routine that the lines supposedly dividing the Central Intelligence Agency, the military and Blackwater became blurred. Instead of simply providing security for C.I.A. officers, they say, Blackwater personnel at times became partners in missions to capture or kill militants in Iraq and Afghanistan, a practice that raises questions about the use of guns for hire on the battlefield.

Okay, NYT. You had me, and then you lost me.

If I understand this right, the Blackwater guys weren't originally a planned part of the raids, but were there playing security for the C.I.A. guys much as they did the State Department. At some point, there was the need for an extra active participant or more in the raid, and the Blackwater guys, being former military and there were the obvious and logical choice to step in.

I can see a logical (and quite human) progression from being an impressed team member who stepped in as part of his overarching mission to protect his principle (which seems to arguably still be within the scope of his assignment), to the more murky and politically problematic normalized use of Blackwater guards in these missions. There is certainly what the project managers among us with recognize as "scope creep," but the Times still isn't giving us much meat. Were the guards involved in overwatch roles, setting up a perimeter? Or were they intimately active in the actual door-kicking, room-clearing, Tango-bagging searches themselves? If so, to what extent? Did they shoot anyone the shouldn't have? Did they shoot anyone, at all?

The Times doesn't tell us. That seems to be a very important distinction to make if the newspaper is going to level charges of wrong-doing. Lacking that, the story seems to fall flat.

Indeed, a close reading of the story leaves the reader more perplexed than informed. The Times writers certainly set a dark and ominous tone, but what they delivered was anti-climatic.

Other than vague insinuations of wrong-doing and the rehashing of historical events involving the company—stories the paper has already covered ad nauseum—there seems to be very little actual substance in what the authors present .

Scope creep? Really? That is the big story?

If I didn't know better about the Times stellar reputation for politics-free, objective reporting, I might be tempted to offer up an allegation of my own. If I were so inclined, I might suggest they were offering up a red herring to their readers... perhaps to distract them from the sort of things the editors might not want their readers thinking about.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:09 AM | Comments (8)

December 07, 2009

Nuke-Crazed Dwarf Claims America is More Powerful Than Islamic Jesus

At least that is what Ahmadinejad is claiming between his "treatments" at Tehran's Madhi Ali Small Engine Repair and Psychiatric Institute to Dubai-based Al Arabiya.

Ahmadinejad reportedly claims he has documented evidence that the U.S. is blocking the return of Mahdi, the Imam believed by Muslims to be the savior.

"We have documented proof that they believe that a descendant of the prophet of Islam will raise in these parts and he will dry the roots of all injustice in the world," Ahmadinejad said during a speech on Monday, according to Al Arabiya.

"They have devised all these plans to prevent the coming of the Hidden Imam because they know that the Iranian nation is the one that will prepare the grounds for his coming and will be the supporters of his rule," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.

Ahmadinejad continued the rant by claiming there have been plots by both the West as well as countries in the East to wipe out his country, according to Iranian news Web site Tabak.

"They have planned to annihilate Iran. This is why all policymakers and analysts believe Iran is the true winner in the Middle East," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by the site. He also alleged that foreign nations seek to control Iran's oil and natural resources.

For those of you not familiar with Ahmadinejad's religion, he belongs to a radical Shia sub-cult that even camel-sex-approving Ayatollah Khomeini thought was nuts. The mad dwarf's belief is that his messiah will only return after the world is burned in a cleansing fire, and somehow America is blocking their trip to Paradise. If it sounds to you like someone is laying the groundwork for a mass suicide to put Jonestown to shame, then you are on the right track.

When you understand their belief system is premised on triggering a nuclear war that obliterates their country in order to jump-start their End of Days and trip to Paradise, then you understand why Iran's fanatical leaders are so driven to obtain nuclear weapons.

It also showcases why our ignorant President is running us full-speed towards a nuclear war with his failure to even attempt disarming them preemptively with all necessary measures. Cowardice always leads to greater casualties than standing up for what is right.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:10 PM | Comments (3)

November 28, 2009

Russian Train Destroyed by Terrorist Bomb

The express train carrying passengers from Moscow to St. Petersburg was derailed Friday, killing 30 and injuring at least one hundred. Russian authorities claim that have found a blast crater and chemical residue that indicates the train was targeted in an act of terrorism, using homemade explosives equivalent to 15 pounds of TNT.

If homemade explosives were used I would be surprised to find out if it was anything other than triacetone triperoxide (TATP), an old standby for terrorists that was perhaps most infamously used in the London subway bombings.

No one has publicly taken responsibility for the blast, and a motive remains unclear at this time.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:29 AM | Comments (1)

November 24, 2009

So Much for Brotherly Love

A second set of potential terrorists was charged with attempting to buy arms in Philadelphia in as many days.

Three Lebanese nationals and one American resident were charged today with attempting to obtain 1,200 M-4 military assault weapons for Hezbollah, the second set of such charges in as many days generated in Philadelphia.

U.S. Attorney Michael L. Levy declined to say if the government informer who penetrated the alleged smuggling ring was the same person cited in yesterday's allegations that a man connected to Hezbollah tried to obtain Stinger anti-aircraft missiles for Hezbollah, as well as M4s.

But the individuals charged are not the same.

"We are dealing with two different groups trying to buy M4s," he said.

Idiots. They should have simply asked for a stimulus grant.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:45 PM | Comments (3)

November 18, 2009

Broken Minds

This observation from Tom Maguire has haunted me since last night.

As he told us last Friday, Eric Holder wants to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in civilian courts because he (mostly) attacked civilians, while the attackers of the USS Cole will be sent to a military tribunal. The Dallas Morning News explained:
There is no contradiction here: military courts for attacks on the military, civilian courts for attacks on civilians.

OMG. And if the next batch of terrorists are clever enough to attack an elementary school will they be tried in juvenile court?

How bizarre is Holder's logic? First, why give more rights and more protections to a terrorists who targets civilians? Secondly, the court ought to be determined by the nature of the defendant, not the nature of the victims - if KSM is an enemy combatant he deserves a military tribunal regardless of who he was crafty enough to target.

I've long disagreed with the underlying ideology of the Obama Administration, which is based upon the philosophies of those men who replaced his father in his life. Radical left-wing ideologies like those the President learned from his mentors—Frank Marshall Davis (communist), Bill Ayers (Marxist), Jeremiah Wright (racist black liberation theology, Marxism), etc—have never led to anything other than misery for the wretches that survive it.

But Obama and his subordinates compound the errors of these diseased ideologies by adopting another failed ideology, one that acts as if the open warfare of Islamic fascism is a civilian law enforcement problem. That flawed thinking already led to horrors of 9/11. Why are our President and Attorney General so dimwitted that they desire to repeat those mistakes and put the lives of Americans at greater risk?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:35 AM | Comments (18)

November 12, 2009

The Convictions of a Coward: Obama Fails to Choose and Chooses to Fail on Afghanistan

Barack Obama knows nothing of military strategy or tactics, doesn't understand counterinsurgency, and holds a barely-disguised contempt for the military. I guess it shouldn't be surprising, then, that the President has rejected all options for winning the war in Afghanistan presented to him:

After months of deliberating, President Obama opted not to accept any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, pushing instead for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

That stance comes in the midst of forceful reservations about a possible troop buildup from the U.S. ambassador in Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, according to a second top administration official.

In strongly worded classified cables to Washington, Eikenberry said he had misgivings about sending in new troops while there are still so many questions about the leadership of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The Obama Administration sat silently by and enabled what most believe to be a fraudulent reelection of Karzai, and now wants to use his reelection as an excuse? That's like watching an arsonist douse a house in gasoline, only to complain later about the smoldering rubble being a blight on the neighborhood.

Karzai is a starwman, and a pathetic one at that. On two separate occasions in recent we've noted a remarkable counterinsurgency strategy for Afghanistan that bypasses Karzai's corrupt central government altogether, and works with the real arbiters of power in Afghani society, the tribes. One Tribe at a Time (PDF) is a blueprint for winning the Afghan war, and with a smaller footprint to boot.

The Administration could easily adopt this plan, but refuses to consider it an an option. Considering it removes their self-inflicted strawman of an ineffectual and corrupt central government that largely doesn't exist outside of Kabul.

Jim Hanson, retired SF operator and Director of the Warrior Legacy Institute, notes:

He has already had the advice of his entire military chain of command with a near unanimous call for for reinforcements to move to the strategy that won in Iraq. We have watched as he has heard from the deep wisdom of Joe Biden and Rahm Emanuel. We have seen him dither and quibble and show a completely ineffectual and uncommitted face to our enemies and the rest of the world. Now months after his hand-picked commander has told him the situation is bad and getting worse, our troops in the field fight and die without the support of their Commander in Chief. He sent 21,000 more brave men and women there and now they are flappin' in the breeze. How can a squad leader look his men in the eyes and tell them to saddle up and head out on a patrol, perhaps to be the last to die for a cause their President no longer believes in?

Quite clearly, Barack Obama has decided against winning the war in Afghanistan, showing his long history of claiming that the Afghan war is the right war, and the war we must win, to be a bald-faced lie he repeated to get into office.

He is steeling himself for surrender, hunting for excuses to fail. And the rubes that believed he was anything other than a self-loathing defeatist have nobody but themselves to blame for electing him.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:08 AM | Comments (13)

November 05, 2009

Fort Hood Shooter ID'd

With the release of two other possible suspects, it is now starting to look like the shooting at Fort Hood today was the work of a single man, armed with two handguns. He was named as Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist who ironically specialized in treating traumatic stress, and who was angry about having to deploy to Iraq at the end of November.

Like another mass murder who targeted young adults, Hasan went to Virginia Tech.

Figures.

Update: Breaking news as of 10:00 PM is that Hasan did not die, and is in custody in stable condition.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:16 PM | Comments (35)

Terrorist Attack on Fort Hood

There is breaking news of what sounds like a terrorist attack on Fort Hood.

Early reports are citing 7 dead, 12 wounded, and one shooter taken into custody and another still possibly on base. Some accounts claim there is a third suspect.

While there is no word yet on who is responsible, this sounds very similar to various plots by homegrown Islamic terrorist cells, such as the Willow Springs cell arrested in North Carolina in July.

One gunman may have been killed

Updates as they come in:

Number of wounded revised to 15, and perhaps as many as 20.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram says suspects were armed with M-16s. that could just as easily mean civilian AR-15s, as well.

The shooters are possibly soldiers?

Two suspects captured, four SWAT team members wounded.

FBI rules out terrorism. I think what they meant to claim is that this wasn't the work of an Islamic terrorist cell or an attack by domestic extremists. By any measure, this was a terror attack, no matter who the shooters or victims were.

Casualty figures have grown to 9 dead and 30 wounded.

12 KIA, 31 WIA, shooters confirmed as soldiers, at least one of which had a "Arabic-sounding name".

Briefing:


Twelve people were killed and 31 wounded in a shooting at Fort Hood on Thursday, officials confirmed.

Ford Hood spokesman Sgt. Tim Volkert said the shooting occurred at 1:30 p.m. A military briefing at 4 p.m. said three assailants, all soldiers, fired shots at the Soldiers Readiness Processing Center and the Howze Theater next to it.

The facts of the story have solidified. Thee was one shooter, an American Major who used two handguns. Details here.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:41 PM | Comments (8)

October 29, 2009

Ghosts of Campaigns Past

Earlier this week I read and commented upon Special Forces Major Jim Gant's proposal for winning the Afghan war, One Tribe At a Time (PDF). Gan't proposla was based upon his highly successful engagement as the leader of a Special Forces A-team that won the confidence of and became regarded as part of a Pushtun tribe.

Gant's approach suggests using smaller teams of highly-trained and highly-supported soldiers and have them assimilate into Afghanistan's Pashtun tribes to combat the Taliban with minimal but immediate assistance, both monetary and military, as needed.

David Adams and Ann Marlowe reach a similar conclusion in the Wall Street Journal today, noting that more troops applied improperly actually seems to make attempts at providing security counterproductive:

We saw how this could work in the Tani district of Khost starting in 2007. By assisting an ANA company—with a platoon of American paratroopers, a civil affairs team from the U.S.-led Provincial Reconstruction Team, the local Afghan National Police, and a determined Afghan subgovernor named Badi Zaman Sabari—we secured the district despite its long border with Pakistan.

Raids by the paratroopers under the leadership of Lt. Col. Scott Custer were extremely rare because the team had such good relations with the tribes that they would generally turn over any suspect. These good tribal relations were strengthened further by meeting the communities' demands for a new paved road, five schools, and a spring water system that supplies 12,000 villagers.

Yet security has deteriorated in Khost, despite increases of U.S. troops in mid-2008. American strategy began to focus more on chasing the insurgents in the mountains instead of securing the towns and villages where most Khostis live.

The insurgents didn't stick around to get shot when they saw the American helicopters coming. But the villagers noticed when the roads weren't built on time and the commanders never visited.

It doesn't take much more more than a scan of the current headlines to know that the application of the current strategy is not working. We also have multiple sources with boots-on-the-ground experience suggesting what certainly sounds like the same approach to a much more intimate, smaller-scale engagement, with real-world results supporting their positions.

No doubt General McCrystal has his reasons for wanting 40,000 troops, just as Joe Biden has his own (quite daft) reasons for wanting to fight a drone war.

But generals and politicians have historically had problems correctly fighting the war in front of them, haunted by ghosts of campaigns past.

Let's hope our current commanders are capable of avoiding that trap.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:16 AM | Comments (1)

October 27, 2009

The Generals Trap

Memeorandum is abuzz over this article in the Washington Post. It seems that a former Marine Captain with combat experience in Iraq who had joined the State Department in the Zabul province of Afghanistan resigned in September becuase of waht he viewed as a pointless war.

The official, Matthew Hoh, wrote in his letter of resignation:

"I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan,"' he wrote Sept. 10 in a four-page letter to the department's head of personnel. "I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end."

Mr. Hoh is far from being the only American with questions about how we are executing strategy in Afghanistan, and for that matter, in Pakistan. As Michael Yon has been warning for over a year, things in Afghanistan are not going as well as they have in Iraq. We're not winning. We may be losing. All that seems certain is that whatever we are doing now isn't working.

There are more opinions that I can cite on what people want us to do in Afghanistan.

There are know-nothing defeatists on the left that desire an American defeat as a mark against President Bush's legacy. Such a view is perverse, but not unexpected from those that became enslaved to a singular hatred over eight years that have turned them into little more than Gollum, trapped in what one fevered progressive blogger described as "one long, sustained scream."

Opposing them are those with more rational reasons for advocating for policies of withdrawal or various strategies that refocus on continuing the effort.

U.S. General Stanley McCrystal wants to commit a much larger American force of 40,000 to attack the Taliban in what some are referring to as the Afghan Surge, likening it to the military operation in Iraq that did much to bring the country to a relative level of stability and enabled U.S. forces to mostly withdraw to supporting roles.

Others such as Vice President Joe Biden, want to reduce the U.S. footprint within Afghanistan and snipe at Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists with Hellfire missiles fired from the ever-present Predator UAVs circling overhead in some area.

And of course, all of our engagement strategies hinge on collaborating with an Afghan government that means almost nothing outside of Kabul.

But there is no guarantee that either increasing our conventional ground forces nor reeling them back in and remotely targeted suspect foes will affect any sort of meaningful change in the remote regions of Afghanistan. The tribes have defeated and outlasted armies that have fought with much greater ferocity and less regard for human life for longer periods of time. The enemy knows that they do not have to defeat us in battle. They can simply afford to watch us burn ourselves out.

That is not to say that the war is unwinnable. We just need to take a fresh look at how the human terrain is different in Afghanistan, and rededicate ourselves to fighting the current war, and not fall into the ever-present generals trap of fighting the last war.

For all intents and purposes, the American war in Iraq is over, and we won. We deposed a dictator, foundered in a bloody insurgency and near civil war over a number of years, before alighting on a strategy that fit the war. Once those tactics were discovered and put into widespread use, the bulk of the insurgency collapsed or was coerced into giving up, leading us to a current state where American forces spend their time on base or in training roles, and the Iraqi government has become a more or less functional state. Terrorist attacks like the double vehicle bombings of several days ago still spread terror and mayhem, but no overtly longer threaten the stability of the state. There is now hope from politicians and generals of using the lessons learned in Iraq to fight the Afghan war.

But the commanders and politicians have learned the wrong lessons.

They focus on the strategy and tactics of military conflict and diplomacy between governments because that is how they are comfortable thinking. They seek to apply what they think they learned in Iraq, while forgetting how they learned.

They learned from "boots on the ground" who found out what worked by living with the population and learning that mastering the human terrain is far more important than building firebases.

One man who seems to understand the human terrain in Afghanistan better than most is U.S. Army Special Forces operator Major Jim Gant, who was deeply and personally embedded with his team in Mangwel, Konar Province.

Based upon his experiences in Afghanistan, Major Gant wrote about the concept of winning the war through tribal engagement in One Tribe at a Time (PDF).

Regular readers of Confederate Yankee know that I commented frequently about the conflict in Iraq during it's most trying times, but that I've been almost silent on Afghanistan. The reason is simple: I had few contacts there, and little understanding of the nature of the people or the conflict. I wasn't going to opine on a war that I simply don't understand in the slightest.

Thanks to One Tribe at a Time I have a far greater understanding of at least Major Gant's view of how to conduct the war. While I'm open to hear other opinions, his experience and the course he advocates sounds like an approach at least worth studying.

I have a suspicion that if we continue to listen to just the politicians and generals, we may once again stagger on with the wrong strategy, creating a war that we cannot win because our greatest adversary is ourselves.

(h/t Instapundit)

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:06 PM | Comments (6)

September 11, 2009

Still Raw, Still Visceral

Eight years later, all I can clearly remember is the sinking feeling in my gut and the unnaturally blue skies we had in the Hudson Valley that morning.

This says so much more than my words can.

Via Instapundit, on Facebook.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:23 AM | Comments (3)

August 25, 2009

Democratic Strategist Involved in Bombing

Going with the Bill Ayers model of community activism, I guess.

(h/t Gateway Pundit)

I'll be very interested to see how today's revelations about various left-wing bomb plots will raise a cry in the media about the dangers of left wing terrorism... you know, the kind the Southern Poverty Law Center can't be bothered to Google up a fake report about for the Justice Department to disseminate as propaganda.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:52 AM | Comments (1)

Must be One of Those Right Wing Terrorists

Ready it quickly, before Katyanne Marie Kibby's threat to murder a bomb plot informant goes down the memory hole:

A Texas woman faces trial this month in Austin on charges she threatened to kill a government informant who infiltrated an Austin-based group that planned to bomb the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., last fall.

Katyanne Marie Kibby, 25, was indicted in June by a federal grand jury in Austin. She is accused of retaliating against Brandon Darby, the community activist-turned-informant who helped federal prosecutors win convictions against Bradley Neal Crowder, 24, and David Guy McKay, 23.

Prosecutors say the e-mail threat was made Jan. 10. That was two days after Crowder reached a plea bargain with federal prosecutors in Minneapolis for his role in the plot to build Molotov cocktails and attack the GOP convention in September 2008.

Crowder and McKay were part of a group of activists that had gone to the Twin Cities to take part in street demonstrations. The FBI had infiltrated the group with Darby. Crowder and McKay built eight of the gasoline firebombs but didn't use them, a fact law enforcement officials credited to Darby.

Members of the Austin protest community heaped scorn on Darby, saying he had betrayed longtime friends and colleagues.

Note that the Statesman mentions the target of the bomb plot was Republican, but declines to state to which political affiliation the bomb-building activists subscribe.

As Glenn Reynolds notes, it's all about protecting the narrative.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2009

"War Ramping Up"

From Michael Yon, two hours ago with no further explanation:

On the move but will Twitter this right now!

War ramping up here in Afghanistan.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:40 PM | Comments (10)

August 04, 2009

Unhinged, or a Terror Suspect

A 53-year-old Quogue, NY woman has been charged with third degree trespassing—not exactly national news.

That she was arrested while snapping pictures at the perimeter of an Air National base and was found armed with a shotgun, semi-automatic Bushmaster XM15 (and M4-style carbine) and over 500 rounds of ammunition is something that should be getting this story quite a bit more attention that it has so far.

The end of the story seems to hint that authorities think she might have psychiatric problems, but that doesn't mean she was any less of a potential threat.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:00 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2009

I Kill You!

Rusty notes that they've found the Facebook page of one of the Tarheel terrorist-wannabes from Willow Springs. He has the pictures, but I have the video.

Follow along until the end... you'll get a bonus North Carolina tie in, the payoff for martyrdom that perhaps Danial Boyd was really hoping for.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:11 PM | Comments (1)

July 29, 2009

NY Times Botches Complaint Against NC Jihadists

Lets see if you can catch the false and repeated refrain from the newspaper of record:

The three men, along with four others, are charged with stockpiling automatic weapons and traveling abroad numerous times to participate in jihadist movements. There is no indication in the indictment that they were planning attacks in the United States, though prosecutors said they had practiced military tactics this summer in a rural county close to Virginia.

...

Federal officials in Washington said that the men charged on Monday were not seen as serious terrorist threats to the United States or American interests abroad, and that there were no indications of ties to Al Qaeda or other militant groups. But the officials said there was concern that they were amassing a sizable number of automatic weapons, given Mr. Boyd’s record as a foreign fighter.

If you guessed that there weren't any automatic weapons involved in this case, you guessed right.

As noted in some detail yesterday, the indictment cites the exact firearms owned by Daniel Boyd, and not a single one of them was an automatic weapon. The weapons cited in the indictment were 8 intermediate-caliber semi-automatic rifles, 2 semi-automatic battle rifles, a bolt-action rifle, and a revolver.

So much for those multiple layers of fact checkers...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:29 PM | Comments (6)

July 28, 2009

The Guns of the Terrorists Next Door

As you may know, seven men in Willow Springs, NC have been detained on terrorism charges, and an eighth man is still at large.

It's a bit shocking that Islamic terrorists could be hiding in plain sight in a small Southerner town, but that appears to be exactly the case.

And for such a small cell of just eight men, they seemed to be working on a sizable cache of weaponry according to the indictment, including 8 intermediate-caliber semi-automatic rifles, 2 battle rifles, a bolt-action rifle, and a revolver.

I've categorized them by name, type, and date purchased below:

WeaponTypeDate Purchased
Bushmaster M4A3AR-type semi-automatic rifleNov. 9 2006
Ruger Mini-14Semi-automatic rifleMar. 13, 2007
Mossberg 100 ATRBolt-action rifleNov. 3, 2008
Llama Comanche III.357 RevolverNov. 3, 2008
Century Arms AK SporterAK-type semi-automatic rifleNov. 6, 2008
Ruger Mini-30Semi-automatic rifleNov. 11, 2008
Saiga .308Battle Rifle, Semi-automaticFeb. 11, 2009
Century Arms Polish TantalAK-type semi-automatic rifleMar. 2, 2009
Century Arms C91Battle Rifle, Semi-automaticMar. 31, 2009
Century Arms M70B1AK-type semi-automatic rifleApr. 3, 2009
Ruger Mini-14Semi-automatic rifleApr. 3, 2009
S&W M&P15AR-type semi-automatic rifleApr. 3, 2009

The M70B1, which was not linked, is just another run-of-the-mill fixed-stock AK-style rifle.

You may note that the AR- and AK style rifles are what our politicians have labeled "assault weapons," even though they are not assault rifles by any military definition. Prohibitionists may be quick to point out that the AK- and AR- rifles were some of those banned under the Joe Biden-authored abortion known as the 1994 Assault Weapons ban. This is the same ineffective law that our President and Attorney General would like to have reinstated.

The Saiga 308 purchased by Boyd is built upon the exact same AK action, fires a cartridge with the same rate of fire and having both far more range and power.

The two Ruger Mini-14s and Ruger Mini-30 in this arsenal use the same cartridges and have the same range and rate of fire as the AK- and AR- pattern rifles, and they were never subject in any way to restrictions of the so-called "ban."

Nearly identical relatives of the Bushmaster M4 A3 rifle were available during the entire life of the so-called ban, and that if the Smith & Wesson M&P had been around at the time, a variant of it, too, would have likely been legal for civilian sale.

If Boyd had been interested in the other AK-pattern rifles that he amassed he could have purchased those during the ban as well, though he would have paid a premium for them. While illegal to import, the thousands already in circulation were entirely legal to buy and sell.

Tell me again how gun control "works"...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:05 PM | Comments (21)

July 14, 2009

Angel in Iraq

I don't have the words.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:07 AM | Comments (8)

June 23, 2009

Iranian "Moderate" Mousavi Belongs in Gitmo

Via Hot Air comes the news that the "moderate" Iranian opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi is the Butcher of Beirut, responsible for the terrorist attack on the U.S. Marine Corps barracks that killed 241 servicemen.

I said it before, and I'll say it again:

No matter who eventually prevails, the Iranian government will still continue their drive to build nuclear weapons. They will still fund terrorists. They will still train terrorists in their country to kill civilians in Israel. They will still train terrorists to kill American soldiers in Iraq.

What I didn't know at the time is that the Iranian opposition leader already had gallons of U.S. blood on his hands, and is by any rational measure is a terrorist.

Please tell me once again why which despot they put in power really matters to me... or you.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:51 PM | Comments (7)

June 10, 2009

White Supremacist Attacks Holocaust Museum; Guard Killed, Shooter in Critical Condition

Left wing blogosphere filled with smug satisfaction.

By now I'm sure you have heard the news that 88-year-old white supremacist James W. von Brunn attacked the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC today. Security officer Stephen Tyrone Johns died confronting Brunn, who was in turn struck down by return fire from another security officer. Because of the professionalism and quick response from the Museum's security team, no patrons were injured in the attack.

I'd ask you to please consider praying for the Johns family and the soul of Officer Johns, who gave his life protecting his fellow citizens.

Sadly, and with tedious predictability, opportunistic left-wing bloggers triumphantly rushed to use the attack as a political bludgeon.

Taylor Marsh's response was typical, proclaiming the attack as vindication for a shoddily-written document released by the Department of Homeland Security and initially defended by DHS Janet Napolitano before she was forced to retract it in embarrassment.

Marsh began gloating before Officer Johns was even cold:

We have a real escalation of domestic terrorism unfolding in the United States. Something Janet Napolitano warned about in her homeland security report, for which Republicans eviscerated her. She was ringing the warning bell, which as we've seen lately was fully warranted.

Of course, Marsh's hopeful vindication of Napolitano is based upon wishful thinking, and bears little resemblance to reality.

The DHS report was panned—and later withdrawn—because the report was heavily political in nature, unfairly tarring a broad set of conservative and libertarian values as being indicators of terrorist intentions, as exposed by Roger Hedgecock and Stephen Gordon, who cited offending passages including this one:

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

It was the broad generalization of this report that earned it criticism, for casting a net so wide that it ensnared Americans with patently mainstream ideas, such as thinking that the government exists to serve the people, or that a government needs to control its borders and favor its citizens over illegal aliens, or for believing that Constitutional Amendments are actually important.

The report cast a net broad enough that it encompassed both museum shooter von Brunn and infanticide doctor killer Scott Roeder. It was also broad enough that it would include almost every adherent of a mainstream religion, a significant portion of Congress, most of middle America, the entire Border Patrol, and the father of the 35th President, just to name a few.

Broad incompetence is not something to crow victoriously about as if were a virtue.

Except, perhaps, for certain apologists for incompetence.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:51 PM | Comments (10)

June 02, 2009

An Ideologue's World

The flash was blinding and disorienting, and Hassan dropped to his knees as a roar like the end of the world shook the ground under him. The sky over Jericho dimmed and he turned west to see a mushroom cloud rising above Tel Aviv... or where Tel Aviv once was.

A song began to rise in his heart at the death of the Jews, but it hung as he saw the contrails of high-flying Israeli jets streaking overhead toward Damascus and Tehran.

"The Shia have killed us all," he whispered, and he sat down to die.

For now, this vision of the end of the Cradle of Civilization— the realization of the so-called Samson option by a dying Israel in response to an Iranian nuclear strike —is fiction.

Our President, however, seems unwilling to take repeated Iranian threats to destroy Israel at face value, just as he ignores that nation's continued development of long-range missiles and nuclear warheads.

He pretends to believe that Iran has a need or desire for peaceful nuclear energy instead of the beginning of Armageddon. His is a childish belief of a man who has never been a leader but has always been an ideologue in a political movement cowed by an irrational and suicidal belief of moral equivalence between good and evil when it admits that they even exist at all. He says we cannot impose our values—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—on nations with murderous histories and hate-consumed cultures.

Better to let them live out their fantasies of genocide, no matter how many millions die, than be a man who has to make difficult decisions.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:57 PM | Comments (12)

Where King's Bill Would Have Failed

Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, the American Muslim convert that shot two local soldiers outside of a Little Rock military recruiting station, was on a FBI watch list after all, not that it did any good:

The suspect arrested in the fatal shooting of one soldier and the critical injury of another at a Little Rock, Ark., Army recruiting booth today was under investigation by the FBI's Joint Terrorist Task Force since his return from Yemen, ABC News has learned.

...

Officers who searched the car found more than 100 rounds of ammunition, an SKS assault rifle, two pistols, and two military books.

The ammunition was loaded in magazines which were found in a vest, police sources say.

You can expect at least lip service for Peter King's H.R.2159: Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009 to pick up steam in the wake of the Little Rock attack that killed soldier William Long and the killing of an infanticide specialist in a Wichita church the day before.

Denying terrorists the means by which to carry out their attacks is something we can all get behind on both sides, but I can't find anything in King's bill to suggest that Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad or Scott Roeder would have been effectively denied access to firearms even if King's proposed bill was already established law.

Roeder's Freemen fringe is known to be well-armed and not prone to having any respect for federal laws—indeed, the defining characteristic of this and similar groups is that they do not respect federal authority—and I rather doubt King's proposed law would be the one they decided to follow.

Likewise, Muhammad could easily obtain arms via other, non-legal means.

As it stands, I haven't seen law enforcement or media reports that established how either of these domestic terrorists obtained their firearm. That said, we do know that another law, however well-intentioned, would not have been the slightest impediment to these killers.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:12 AM | Comments (4)

June 01, 2009

African-American Muslim Convert Guns Down Two Soldiers at Little Rock Recruiting Station

The political apparatus behind Homeland Security is obviously not tracking the right extremists:

A Muslim convert who said he was opposed to the U.S. military shot two soldiers outside an Arkansas recruiting station, killing one of the soldiers, police said Monday.

"This individual appears to have been upset with the military, the Army in particular, and that's why he did what he did," Little Rock Police Lt. Terry Hastings said in a phone interview.

"He has converted to Muslim here in the past few years," Hastings said. "To be honest we're not completely clear on what he was upset about. He had never been in the military."

Hastings identified the man in custody as Carlos Bledsoe, 24, of Little Rock, who was going by the name of Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad.


It seems like it was just within the past few weeks—because it was—that another group of African-American Muslim converts attempted to carry out terrorist attacks against American citizens.

Has anyone heard of Homeland Security or the Justice Department issuing warnings to law enforcement agencies to be looking for signs of suspicious activity from this very specific pool of potential terrorists? Before they struck twice in the past two weeks, I mean.

I'd love to hear from those of you in law enforcement if such a warning had been issued.

I'd hate to think that our current Presidential Administration would rather ignore the uncomfortable realities of real terrorist threats in favor of playing to the comforting silence of identity politics... but considering President Obama's ties to certain terrorists/authors and the 20 years he spent in the congregation of a racial separatist church, I wouldn't put it past Dear Leader, either.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:04 PM | Comments (8)

May 29, 2009

Obama Holds Israeli Helicopters and Weapons Integration Hostage, Benefiting Hamas and Putting Civilians at Risk

In a move that a cynic might note may be designed to save their $900 million investment in Hamas, the Obama Administration has stepped in to block the sale of six Apache helicopters to Israel and also stopped the integration of the Spike missile system with the Apache's millimeter wave radar.

The Obama administration has blocked Israel's request for advanced U.S.-origin attack helicopters.

Government sources said the administration has held up Israel's request for the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter. The sources said the request was undergoing an interagency review to determine whether additional Longbow helicopters would threaten Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.

"During the recent war, Israel made considerable use of the Longbow, and there were high civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip," a source close to the administration said.

What a naked, ideologically-driven crock.

Obama's Administration, which apparently has little knowledge of or use for military systems, does not seem to grasp that the use of the Longbow's mast-mounted sensor suite enables it to more carefully select targets that other variants of the Apache, which in and of themselves are a better targeting, surveillance, and attack system than most alternatives.

Nor do they seem to grasp that the close air support function of helicopters with lighter weapons loads is less likely to cause the collateral deaths of civilians than other weapons systems that would have to step into the suppression role that helicopters typically occupy.

Artillery units (in Israel, typically 155mm self-propelled howitzers) fire salvos of "dumb" high explosive or incendiary shells that either burst above the target (spraying shrapnel over a wide area), point detonate on impact, or less frequently, on a time delay that lets them penetrate structures before exploding. But artillery is not designed to be a precision weapon, and Obama's decision could force the Israeli's to use this area weapon, directly putting civilian lives at risk.

The other option for the Israeli's if these Apache's are out of the picture are "fast movers" such as the F-15i and and F16i, fighter-bombers armed with bombs weighing hundreds or thousands of pounds. While they can be armed with precision weapons, the warheads on these munitions are typically larger than those of helicopter mounted weapons. Once again, this creates a situation where the Israeli's are boxed into a less-than-optimal weapons system and put civilians at greater risk of death because of an ignorant decision made by a neophyte's Administration trying to play hardball not with an enemy, but an ally.

The net result is that Obama's short-sightedness and inexperience is potentially leading to a situation that will increase the collateral damage of Israeli strikes, even if the strikes are carried out with the utmost care, because Obama has blocked the sale and integration of the most precise and surgical weapons system available to handle the threat.

Instead of being able to target a Hamas rocket team that has retreated into the garage of an apartment building with a Longbow's precision gunfire or a pinpoint missile strike, Obama's decisions may lead to Israel being boxed into a position where their options are to respond with artillery strikes that run the risk of bringing down the building and spraying everyone nearby with shrapnel, or bombing the building with fighter aircraft armed with bombs large enough to flatten the building and kill everyone inside it.

Obama stupidly thinks that by denying Israel precision-strike capable aircraft and precisions munitions integration that Israel might not fire on the Palestinian terrorists he's provided more money to than anyone but Iran. He thinks he's protecting his investment. Israel, however, does not suffer terrorist rocket attacks on it's neighborhoods and schools, nor should they.

Those innocent Palestinians that may die as a result of this shortsightedness need look no further for a culprit that then man who hides behind the fence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

(h/t Bookworm)

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:05 AM | Comments (14)

May 22, 2009

Shocker: NY Muslim Terrorists Were Losers, "Intellectually Challenged"

More is coming out about the four Newburgh men who were arrested in a plot to carry out attacks on synagogues in New York City and shoot down C5 Galaxy transport aircraft at Stewart ANG base in Newburgh.

You'll hardly find it surprising that the terror team is bunch of dead-end convicts who converted to Islam in prison, and that none are a threat to join Mensa:

One is a petty criminal who spent a day in 2002 snatching purses and shooting at people with a BB gun from an SUV. His lawyer calls him "intellectually challenged."

Three have histories of drug convictions, one of them for selling narcotics in a school zone. The man prosecutors portrayed as the instigator of the scheme said he smoked pot the day he planned to blow up the temples.

In other words, if they hadn't decided to become terrorists, they would have fit perfectly in ACORN.

As it is, one of the uncles of the suspects feels that he knows where to place the blame:

"The Onta I know wouldn't do something like this, but the new Onta, yeah," said Richard Williams, an uncle. "He wasn't raised this way. All this happened when he became a Muslim in prison."

It's interesting how people who convert to just about any other religion in prison—say, Christianity as a popular choice—come out of prison and often use their newfound zeal as a convert to make something out of their lives.

A blogger friend of mine recently remarked in a private email (hence no name) about how her brother turned his life around after going to prison and finding God there. The one-time petty criminal and recreational drug user is now clean and sober and found a work ethic that has amazed his sister. He now owns a commercial landscaping company. He recently purchased ten acres of land with a pond, and just started building a dream home with his new bride. All of this occurred just six years after he walked out of the prison gates with nothing but his faith and support form his family. He gives all the credit for his phenomenal success in such a short amount of time to God.

If James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen has been successful in their quest to carry out murderous synagogue bombings in Riverdale and managed to bring down a C5 Galaxy carrying even part of its full fuel load of 332,500 pounds—enough to fill more than six railcars—and managed to burn a massive swath of their hometown to the ground—perhaps the massive jet veering into the 2,700 student Newburgh Free Academy (which is very near a landing jet's flight path) in the worst, worst case scenario—they would no doubt give all the "glory" of their massacres to Allah.

It is interesting, and sometimes insane what adherents of different religions think brings glory to their God, and worth noting that what these converts would have lauded as the will of their God parallels what we would expect from the will of Satan himself.

As for Masjid al-Ikhlas, the mosque these men shared on Washington Terrace in Newburgh, I'd like to hope that they were not involved in the plot in any way, or were working with the authorities in bringing down this band of murder-minded misfits. If they were encouraging jihad, however, I hope the authorities shut them down.

There is a freedom of religion in this country, but that stops when the individual practitioners or promoters of the religion use it to destroy the lives of others.

Update: And radicals they are. Phyllis Chesler does some digging and reveals the radical Islamist roots fo Masjid al-Ikhlas.

Perhaps Peter King or another New York politician should consider finding a way to close such radical centers that seem to do little more than condone and organize criminals to become indoctrinated mass murderers.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:52 AM | Comments (7)

May 21, 2009

These Are the Terrorists In Your Neighborhood

When I lived in Newburgh, New York I had a paper route that took me down Washington Terrace, an utterly forgettable section of road in an ugly part of worn-out town.

It's beena few years, but the mosque one source calls Masjid Al Jihad Al Akbar (the local paper calls it Masjid al-Ikhlas, but puts it at the same address) was a worn-looking Islamic Center on Washington Terrace that never seemed to have anyone around when I drove past. If news accounts are correct, the two-story building that may be the only mosque in Newburgh was most likely a link between four Muslim terrorists that were attempting to bomb synagogues in Brooklyn and try to shoot down aircraft with Stinger missiles at Stewart ANG base.

The FBI busted a homegrown terror cell late Wednesday night as the men sneaked around a Jewish temple in Riverdale planting what they thought was packages of C-4 explosives, sources told the Daily News.

The four African American men, three of whom were said to be jailhouse converts to Islam, also allegedly had what they believed was a working Stinger missile in their car.

Officials said they hoped to shoot down a plane at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh in Orange County.

Sources said the four men were arrested after a year-long investigation that began when an informant connected to a mosque in Newburgh said he knew men who wanted to buy explosives.

FBI agents posing as militants sold them what they thought was 30 pounds of C-4 and a plane-downing Stinger missile.

The weaponry was all phony.

The ANG plane most often flown out of Stewart is the massive C5 Galaxy, on a predictable flight path that would make the plane a relatively easy target as it came in for landings from any of a hundred possible launch sites along Route 17K or Route 300, with easy escape routes to nearby interstates just minutes away.

I remember that after 9/11 some locals grumbled about wanting to burn down Masjid Al Jihad Al Akbar. In retrospect, if it is the mosque where terrorists came to plot, then finding some way to shut the mosque down certainly seems like an idea worth considering.

Update: Confirmed. The mosque's imam is an ex-con who di d a 12-year stretch for robbery and is the protegee of another Imam who was fired for praising the terror attacks of 9/11.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:09 AM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2009

Hustled: How Obama Deceived America About a Drawdown in Iraq and a "Surge" In Afghanistan By Playing With The Lives Of American Soldiers

This post from milblogger Greyhawk is a must-read.

It is relatively rare when we see a situation where people from both ends of the political spectrum and all points in between can unite for any reason, but using the lives of soldiers as political props is certainly one of them.

Here's the summary:

President Obama, apparently seeking to keep the anti-war left firmly under his spell, announced that he was drawing down American forces in Iraq, and was instead diverting forces who had trained specifically for an Iraqi deployment to Afghanistan.

Less than a month later, another unit's scheduled deployment to Iraq is sped up, in order to keep the same number of Stryker brigades in Iraq as there would have been if he hadn't shipped the other unit to Afghanistan.

The President ordered a unit that had trained for ten months specifically for the Iraqi mission to another part of the world that speaks a different language and has entirely different cultures. There is no easy way to determine on a Sunday night how many tens of millions of training dollars and man-hours Obama wasted by shifting this Stryker brigade, but if the Iraqi theater really didn't need them, it at least could have been understandable.

But the Iraqi theater clearly did need a Stryker brigade, and he planned on sending one all along.

We know this because just as soon as the Obama White House sold the drawdown story to the media and the anti-war left, he immediately and quietly ordered that another Stryker brigade—one that is no doubt capable, but one that didn't have the specific, intensive training of the unit diverted to Afghanistan— rushed to Iraq months ahead of schedule in order to keep the same number of Stryker brigades (two) as there has been the entire time.

There is no drawdown of Stryker brigades in Iraq.

President Obama lied to the American people.

He tried to con those who are against the Iraq war into thinking we were actually drawing down our capabilities there, when all he actually did was use a street-hustler's sleight-of-hand, having us watch one hand moving a unit out of Iraq, while using his other hand to deftly slide in another.

To borrow a phrase: you been lied to. Bamboozled. Run amok.

By a hustler who's been playing you the entire time.

And for those of us who know people in the military, be they friends or family, you should be absolutely livid at the callous disregard with which our punk of a President used the lives of two entire brigades of soldiers and their families as pawns.

The military life is never easy. Not ever. Our troops and spouses know that, and the kids, well, they learn to cope as best they can. There is always pride, but always uncertainty, and little things can make a difference for both the morale of the soldiers and those who carry on in their absence.

Knowing that our soldiers are highly trained for a specific mission makes them feel more confident of success, and more confident they'll have a better chance to come home. Having nearly a year's training wasted—and then finding out several weeks later that all that training was wasted because of political theater orchestrated to benefit your selfish Commander-in-Chief—well, I can only assume that hurts morale. Not just the morale of the troops, mind you, but that of their families, to see how little he cares about those he commands. And that's just the 5th Stryker Brigade.

The 4th Stryker Brigade's soldiers are being rushed to Iraq to keep two Stryker Brigades there. Did they get in all the specialized training they needed? They'll no doubt rush to get it done. But are those soldiers and their families being cheated of time together because Barack Obama is using them to play a cynical political game where he tries to lie to America about the wars we're fighting?

Absolutely.

Anyone who has done any research into who Barack Obama is, instead of who he likes to claim who he is, can't be very surprised that he would so cynically manipulate others for personal political gain.

What is surprising is how brazen his abuses are, and how quickly they've come.

Update: "It looks as if the Obama administration is so self involved, the only game it’s playing is a shell game with itself and the American people."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:17 PM | Comments (8)

February 24, 2009

Obama Administration Supports Hamas Rebuilding, While Shorting Anti-Terrorism Funding in Pakistan

We're still fighting a war against radical Islamic terrorism, and it already appears that our inept President has forgotten which side he's supposed to be on.

The Department of Defense's Security Development Plan for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, like the administration's $900 million Gaza aid plan, is directed at the heart of a terrorist haven. But the DoD initiative is directed at curtailing and/or cutting off terrorists from narcotics funding and undermining their stranglehold on and, to the degree that it exists, popular support of the local populations there. An alternative.

The Administration's Gaza reconstruction gift contains none of these counterterrorism dynamics. Not a one. There is but one ultimate distributor in Gaza: Hamas. The Obama administration can claim that "the aid would not go to Hamas but that it would be funneled through nongovernmental organizations," but the fact of the matter remains that the Hamas terrorist organization that dominates Gaza stands to gain from every penny. It most certainly will not be hindered. That equation is nowhere in the calculus.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:20 AM | Comments (11)

January 20, 2009

The Testing Begins

One thing America's enemies expect in Barack Obama is weakness, and they aren't wasting any time testing him:

Right now, man, lately, we've been under some INSANE level of incoming… like compared to 2004, not so much, but considering that when I got here, it'd been over 9-10 months since any, mind you, ANY rounds hit, and for like 3 days/nights in a row we've had between 2 to 4 incoming rounds.

Expect an uptick in attacks on American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and perhaps elsewhere as terrorists and tyrants probe the incoming Obama Administration to see what the 44th President is made of.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:37 PM | Comments (10)

Hope. Change. Explosives.

I'm hoping this is a hoax:

A Massachusetts man stopped by police along the New Jersey Turnpike amid a suspicion that he was taking explosives to Washington, D.C., prompted a 25-mile closure of the highway east of Philadelphia on Tuesday evening.

At about 6:30 p.m., New Jersey State Police closed the turnpike at exit 1 through exit 4 as a precaution. State troopers, FBI agents and turnpike officials continued to investigate along the highway that leads south to Washington.

New Jersey State Police spokesman Sgt. Stephen Jones said troopers took a 27-year-old man into custody following a car stop in the southbound lanes of the turnpike near Exit 3 in Woodbury Heights.

Know who this benefits?

Mitt Romney.

Update: false alarm.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:28 PM | Comments (2)

January 07, 2009

Another Leftist/Islamist Lie Up In Smoke

It doesn't seem that we can have a conflict in the Middle East without pro-terrorist Islamists and Leftists in the world declaring that white phosphorus (WP) is a chemical weapon, and that the military force using WP is guilty of a "war crime" or "atrocity" for firing white phosphorus shells—never mind that that Islamist force targets civilians, uses their own population as human shields, and commits rape and torture with barbaric impunity to those they suppress.

Such apologist claims, almost without exception, based upon either radical politics, gross ignorance, or a combination of the two. In either event, these shrill claims are decidedly false.

A typical case of ignorance is the one I cited several days ago in the Pacific Free Press where the headline called the use of White Phosphorus by Israeli forces in Gaza the " War Crime du Jour."

Likewise, "Cernig," posting at Crooks & Liars, posted an equally inflammatory, fact-free and generally unhinged rant on the subject:

And there are good reasons to believe that the IDF is simply lying as part of a propaganda war it admits has been eight months in the planning: the use of indiscriminate white phosphorus airbursts, in contravention of international law as it is understood everywhere except the US and Israel (the 1980 Protocol III to the Convention on Conventional Weapons containsa blanket restriction on dropping incendiary weapons from the air against military objectives "located within a concentration of civilians"); the way in which the IDF is throwing explosives around so freely that almost as many of its people have been killed by its own "errant' tank shells as by enemy action.

Like most Leftists, Cernig is quick to pick and choose his atrocities of choice, completely ignoring that Hamas purposefully targeted Israeli civilians with thousands of rockets and mortar shells, in order for him to attack Israel by purposefully (and ignorantly) misconstruing what the laws of land warfare are, and what white phosphorus munitions are being used, and how.

The Israelis are not firing White Phosphorus incendiary weapons into Gaza.

This photo from Gil Cohen Magen two days ago shows Israeli 155mm M825A1 white phosphorus shells, with "M825A1" written clearly on the sides. I've cropping the image to focus on the M825A1 shells.

Update: A higher-resolution crop showing the shell markings more clearly.

Likewise, this photo posted today shows more Israeli 155mm M825A1 shells near a self-propelled gun.

Clearly, Israeli forces are using 155mm M825A1 white phosphorus shells in Gaza. But the white phosphorus shells they are using in Gaza are not incendiaries, and they are not being used in any way that can possibly be misconstrued as illegal.

Why?

Because the M825A1 is a smoke round.

From Global Security:

The M825 is a 155mm Smoke projectile used to provide screening or marking smoke. It is a separate loading munition using a hollow forged steel shell. The shape is ogival with a boat tail for aerodynamic efficiency and a welded steel baseplate. Close to the base is a gilding metal drive band protected by a grommet until just before loading.

The M825 White Phosphorus (Felt-Wedge) is a 155mm base ejection projectile designed to produce a smoke screen on the ground for a duration of 5 to 15 minutes. It consists of two major components, the projectile carrier, and the payload. The projectile carrier delivers the payload to the target. The payload consists of 116 WP-saturated felt wedges.After ejection, the WP felt wedges fall to ground in a elliptical pattern. Each wedge will then becomes a source of smoke. The projectile is ballistically similar to the M483A1 DPICM family of projectiles.

Smoke ammunition is a limited asset. Since ammunition requirements vary with each mission, observers should know the amount and types of smoke ammunition available and how many minutes of coverage it can provide. Extensive, planned smoke employment should be coordinated early with firing units to allow for redistribution or requisition of ammunition.

That's the short version.

The full article goes into far more detail about the nuance about the difference between the use of "quick smoke" and "immediate smoke" for battlefield missions, but one thing is painfully obvious—these are artillery shells and they contain white phosphorus, but they are not incendiary weapons, and they are not, by any remote measure, illegal to use in Gaza or anywhere else. They are smoke shells, used to create smoke screens.

The kind of white phosphorus artillery shells used as incendiary munitions are those called burster-type white phosphorus, and Global Security explains the difference between the incendiary and smoke rounds in sufficient detail .

The airburst Cernig and other terrorist apologists laments as an illegal attack is instead how a smokescreen is created to protect advancing soldiers. It is decidedly not an incendiary weapon, is decidedly not illegal, violating no laws or conventions.

Make no mistake—these apologists, Islamists and Leftists alike, are lying, pro-terror shills.

* * *

Few nations on Earth exercise as much care in waging a "humane" war as does Israel and the United States.

In this present conflict in particular the IDF has gone to extreme lengths to reduce collateral damage, from the careful selection of targets, to using precision-guided state-of-the-art weaponry to maximize the accuracy of their strikes, to using distinct weapons systems designed with different capabilities to use the absolute minimum of force to destroy terrorist targets, to even going to the extreme of phoning civilians near terrorist targets in order to evacuate them prior to attacks.

As Victor David Hansen notes, Israel has gone to historical lengths to protect a hostile civilian population, even as those hostiles openly back and publicly cheer terrorist attacks—more than 6,000 in recent years—that purposefully target Israeli civilians.

There is no moral middle ground here, but one of the most clear-cut battles between good and evil mankind is likely to ever see on this mortal plane.

If you side with Hamas, you side with evil.

Perhaps, then, I shouldn't be so surprised that so many of Hamas' apologists are so willing to lie for them.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:30 PM | Comments (20)

January 06, 2009

Sacrificial Wolves

It was only a matter of time—Israeli counter-battery radar isolated Hamas mortar shells as they rose, and a computer algorithm quickly did the geometry and isolated the GPS coordinates of the launch location before the terrorist-fired bombs even began their descent.

Israeli counter-fire aimed at the launch site was likely in the air before the Hamas-fired shells impacted near their target of Israeli civilians.

When the Israeli shells impacted the Hamas launch site—a school—the terrorists got just what they wanted.

Israeli forces fighting Hamas in the Gaza Strip struck a school run by the United Nations, killing at least 30 Palestinians hiding in the compound, a UN official said. Israel said it was returning fire from the school.

Christopher Gunness, a spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency in Jerusalem, said in a phone interview he could confirm 30 dead and 55 injured, 15 critically, as the result of three Israel artillery shells hitting the school in northern Gaza.

The Israeli army said in a faxed statement late today that its investigations showed that "among the dead in the school were members of the military wing of the Hamas terror organization and a cell firing rockets and mortars at Israeli forces in the area."

Time and again, Hamas terrorists have fired weapons from schools, residential areas, hospitals, and mosques. Often these same sites have been used to store weaponry as well.

An Isreali drone captured a similar Hamas mortar attack launched from the exact same U.N. school two years ago.

Anti-Israeli hypocrites in the world’s media and Islamo-fascist states constantly cry that Israel is guilty of "war crimes" for returning fire against the aggression of various state-sponsored Islamic terrorist groups along its borders, and no doubt will rally against today’s casualties as an example of such.

What they will not admit—and perhaps ideologically, cannot—is that it is Hamas that is clearly guilty of multiple war crimes by any objective measure, as they continually embed militant forces inside civilian structures, population centers, and fire weaponry from within civilian enclaves that they use as human shields.

Perhaps equally as shameful is that the naked hatred of Palestinian culture towards Isreal is so extreme is that even non-combatants are more than willing to have themselves used as human shields, as they view the deaths of their own population as martyrs in a media war as an acceptable cost of attempting genocide against their Jewish neighbors.

Hamas militants did not have to force themselves into this school that recent reports suggest doubled as a weapons depot and firing position, nor in any of the dozens of residential neighborhoods, schools, mosques, and hospitals they’ve illegally weaponized in decades of terrorism. No, they were accepted willingly by Palestinians equally as bent on the destruction of Israel.

Indoctrinated by terror-loving, Jew-demonizing characters from birth on Palestinian television in a culture that lives to hate, fight, and die, there are no innocents here.

The high number of casualties in this particular incident suggests a similar patterns as in previous conflicts. Adoring Palestinians stood too close for too long after their terrorist heroes fired mortars at Israeli civilians. The Palestinians gathered around the launch site to watch munitions being fired against Israel simply didn’t anticipate the speed and accuracy of the Israeli response, and Israeli counter-battery fire detonating additional Hamas weaponry at the school only made the carnage worse.

There is a simple way out of such constant death and misery in Gaza for the Palestinians, a solution the Israelis had hoped for in 2005 when they pulled out of Gaza, giving the Palestinians a chance to form their own state, with their own government.

Instead of prospering and building a future for their children, they squandered their chance, choosing agony and a futile, constant war against an Israeli state that gave them a clear chance for peace and prosperity.

Hamas responded with violence.

All the dead of this war are on the heads of Hamas and the Palestinians that embrace and support them. There are no innocent lambs being slaughtered in Gaza.

Only the deaths of wolves.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:12 PM | Comments (7)

December 31, 2008

Ending Gaza

Let's put this bluntly: the Gaza Strip is a failed non-state run by terrorists pledged to genocide and dreaming of a second Holocaust. It has no discernible reason to exist other than to hate; no notable exports greater than the crude rockets and mortars targeting Israeli civilians for merely daring to exist.

Lets end it. It was a mistake. It's time to close Gaza.

Empty the 1.4 million Gazans living in squalor into the surrounding Arab nations who helped make it a modern Hell. Send them to Egypt. Syria. Jordan. Lebanon. Let these nations deal with the extremism they've midwifed by absorbing the bastard Arabs of the Middle East into their own societies.

Granted, such a repatriation will be welcomed by neither the Arabs of Gaza nor the nations who have to host the violent illiteracy and religious extremism they helped create.

But it is the only viable long-term solution for peace.

And an idea long overdue.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:19 AM | Comments (36)

December 30, 2008

IDF Starts Gaza YouTube Channel; Already Hit With Terms of Use Violations

The Isael Defense forces have started a YouTube channel to show the precision and care they are taking in destroying Hamas terrorist weapons dumps smuggling tunnels, and rocket launching sites located in residential areas by the terrorists. Hamas places the sites among homes and school in hopes that innocent civilians—particularly children—will be killed. Hamas can then use Palestinian and Arab cameramen with sympathies towards their cause to take pictures of the dead and wounded civilians for Hamas' propaganda war, which is typically waged via cameramen from Reuters, AFP, and the Associated Press.

Typically, as in the 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, these photos are stage managed to varying degrees, while a few are occasionally staged.

Some photos are staged by physically manipulating scenes for news photographers to photograph, though the primary way Hamas manipulates the media is to tightly control their access, limiting photographers to areas where they can take generally only take pictures of dead and wounded civilians and Hamas &qout;police," never allowing them access to photograph bombed weapons smuggling tunnels, missile launching sites, and other legitimate military targets.

The IDF YouTube channel is a vital dissemination tool to counter the propaganda photos staged by Hamas and willingly participated in by the world's media outlets, and so it is perhaps no real surprise that the channel itself is already under attack.

Several of the videos showing the Isreali Air Force hitting Hamas rocket launching sites with GBU-39 precision-guided bombs have been flagged by pro-Hamas (or at least anti-Israeli) users and momentarily removed for terms of use violations before being restored. Some have been removed and have not been restored. Expect this online battle to continue, and perhaps intensify.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:57 AM | Comments (32)

December 29, 2008

Meanwhile, Back in Iraq...

While everyone seems to have shifted their gaze to track Gazans reaping what they've sown, CY commenter Big Country has been busy in Iraq, explaining to State Department VIPS how not to kill themselves and getting bombed... on tequila.

Kinda reminds me of a sandy version of Robert Earl Keen's Merry Christmas From the Family, with body armor.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:10 AM | Comments (2)

December 28, 2008

Because Monsters Are Always Monsters

From the "a zebra can't change its stripes" department comes this lovely story.

Hamas officials say 271 Palestinians have been killed and 600 wounded since Israel began its aerial assault on the Gaza Strip on Saturday, but none of the injured have yet left via Rafah.

Egypt has helicopters and doctors on standby at the Rafah crossing.
There are also up to 40 ambulances waiting to go into Gaza to bring out the most seriously wounded. Tonnes of medical supplies have arrived at the nearby airport of El-Arish.

But the Egyptian authorities say that, at the moment, they have no-one to treat.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the wounded were "barred from crossing" and he blamed "those in control of Gaza" for putting the lives of the injured at risk.

The same terrorist organization that Palestinians and leftists worldwide cheer for targeting innocent Israelis for death on a daily basis is now barring their own civilians from getting medical care in hopes of converting their wounded into dead—wailing processions for the media's cameras are the only effective anti-aircraft weapons in Hamas arsenal.

Gazans fail at killing, and when the are killed in response, they kill the survivors. If there has ever been an entire population that is pathological than this one, I'd be interested in knowing who they were. Various Palestinian factions seem intent on this conflict continuing until one side or the other is completely wiped out.

And most times, they don't even seem to care which side.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:48 AM | Comments (14)

Bombed in 30 Minutes or Less, Or Your Next One's Free

Israel has finally responded to extensive rocket attacks targeting their civilians with a surprise series of air strikes yesterday against more than 100 Hamas terrorist targets. Air strikes are continuing today, and Israeli ground forces are massing on the border with Gaza.

I'm sure that many people will think that an Israeli ground invasion is all but inevitable.

I also happen to think that Israel's next phase of strikes was banking on Hamas making just that supposition.

Israel's Saturday attacks went after overt Hamas targets in an effort to rattle their proverbial cages, hitting their most visible signs of power, Hamas security stations, armories, tunnels and training camps.

Hamas, trained and back by Iran just like Hezbollah was in 2006, was prepared and braced for a grinding ground war from fixed positions with concurrent and continuing rocket attacks on Israel, in hopes of winning the traditional Arab "victory," of not being utterly wiped off the face of the earth.

Hamas hoped to stall any Israeli ground invasion by making it as costly as possible by forcing Israeli units into ambushes. Overnight, Hamas rushed their terrorist drones to fighting positions along likely Israeli invasion routes to man tank traps and ambush zones. I strongly suspect IAF planners were counting on just that development.

If I'm right, Israeli Air Force planes have been hitting Hamas fortifications filled with eager young terrorists who died waiting for an invasion that will never come. Hamas was suckered into putting their fighters in combat positions while the IAF simply waited for them to show up for their pre-planned bombing runs.

If Gazans weren't part of a genocide-mad death cult I might feel sorry for them, but then I remember that these same terrorists purposefully target Israeli civilians, and that even their kids dance in the streets when Israeli woman and children are killed by Hamas rockets, and I don't feel too bad, at all.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:58 AM | Comments (9)

December 14, 2008

Iraqi Journalist Throws Shoes At Bush in Baghdad

The Secret Service was apparently taking a nap:

Bush got a size-10 reminder of the fervent opposition to his policies when a man threw two shoes at him -- one after another -- during a news conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

"This is the end!" shouted the man, later identified as Muntadar al-Zeidi, a correspondent for Al-Baghdadiya television, an Iraqi-owned station based in Cairo, Egypt.

Bush ducked both throws. Neither leader was hit. In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt; Iraqis whacked a statue of Saddam Hussein with their shoes after U.S. Marines toppled it to the ground in 2003.

"All I can report," Bush joked of the incident, "is a size 10."

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, however, was hit in the eye with a microphone as security guards scrambled to restrain al-Zeidi.

I saw the video of the event in NBC in a breaking news report, and was stunned that the Secret Service was so slow in responding, allowing the journalist to hurl first one shoe, and then another, at least a full second and perhaps several seconds later.

Granted, shoes aren't know to be lethal projectiles, but my point is that from the angle shown, he seems like he would have had time to hurl a grenade before anyone intervened.

I'm sure progressives are having a good chuckle over this, but rather doubt they'll find similar security breaches amusing when Obama takes over in January.

Update: linked added to 2005 grenade attack on Bush, thanks to a reminder by Jeremy in the comments.

Hot Air now has the video.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:19 PM | Comments (13)

December 10, 2008

20 Terrorists Trained For Mumbai Still At Large

Bad news in the Sydney Morning Herald:

POLICE in Mumbai said the 10 men who carried out the terrorist attacks in November were among 30 recruits selected for suicide missions.

The whereabouts of the other 20 were unknown.

Police released the identities and home addresses in Pakistan of the nine gunmen who died during the attack on India's financial centre - a move designed to increase pressure on the Pakistani Government.

It was the first time Indian police had disclosed the larger number of recruits, all of whom it says belonged to the Pakistani militant organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba. Police said there was no reason to believe the other 20 were in India but expressed concern about that possibility.

"Another 20 were ready to die," Deven Bharti, a Mumbai police deputy commissioner, said. "This is the very disturbing part of it."

Considering the effectiveness of the first batch of terrorists in Mumbai. it would be surprising to see them used anywhere else other than another Indian city, though they may take time to scout out any adjustments in India's defenses that resulted from Mumbai's attacks. They also may also chose to hold off on launching additional attacks if they don't want to provoke a war between Pakistan and India that would likely end their ability to use Pakistan as a sanctuary.

Whether they desire a stable base in Pakistan more than success in India seems to be the key question.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:44 AM | Comments (1)

December 02, 2008

Sovereignty Is Not a Shield

Memeorandum is tracking the buzz on a Rabert Kagan op-ed in the Washington Post, where Kagan offers the idea of—more or less—repossessing the parts of Pakistan where terrorist groups operate and placing them under some sort of international control. The proximate cause of his screed is the multi-day assault carried out by terrorists against civilian targets in Mumbai, India that places nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan on a potential course for war.

He's considered an intellectual for this.

Rather than simply begging the Indians to show restraint, a better option could be to internationalize the response. Have the international community declare that parts of Pakistan have become ungovernable and a menace to international security. Establish an international force to work with the Pakistanis to root out terrorist camps in Kashmir as well as in the tribal areas. This would have the advantage of preventing a direct military confrontation between India and Pakistan. It might also save face for the Pakistani government, since the international community would be helping the central government reestablish its authority in areas where it has lost it. But whether or not Islamabad is happy, don't the international community and the United States, at the end of the day, have some obligation to demonstrate to the Indian people that we take attacks on them as seriously as we take attacks on ourselves?

Would such an action violate Pakistan's sovereignty? Yes, but nations should not be able to claim sovereign rights when they cannot control territory from which terrorist attacks are launched. If there is such a thing as a "responsibility to protect," which justifies international intervention to prevent humanitarian catastrophe either caused or allowed by a nation's government, there must also be a responsibility to protect one's neighbors from attacks from one's own territory, even when the attacks are carried out by "non-state actors."

In Pakistan's case, the continuing complicity of the military and intelligence services with terrorist groups pretty much shreds any claim to sovereign protection. The Bush administration has tried for years to work with both the military and the civilian government, providing billions of dollars in aid and advanced weaponry. But as my Carnegie Endowment colleague Ashley Tellis has noted, the strategy hasn't shown much success. After Mumbai, it has to be judged a failure. Until now, the military and intelligence services have remained more interested in wielding influence in Afghanistan through the Taliban and fighting India in Kashmir through terrorist groups than in cracking down. Perhaps they need a further incentive -- such as the prospect of seeing parts of their country placed in an international receivership.

I agree completely with Kagan on the key point: nation-states that cannot control their territory and have effectively ceded control of large portions to terrorist groups or other "non-state actors" also cede their claims of sovereignty. If a nation-state is attacked from within terrorist-controlled territory, they have the moral right—and I would argue, prime responsibility to their citizens—to respond with crushing military force.

But his solution—"seeing parts of their country placed in an international receivership"—must surely be a joke, or the harried keystrokes of a malformed column that was expelled in grotesque stillborn form.

If the international community were serious about contributing to helping settle territories controlled by terrorists, then Afghanistan would be a nation awash in foreign soldiers on peacekeeping duties and aid workers lavishing the bounty of developed nations on the backwards and downtrodden. Of course, that has not occurred. America's military fights with a largely symbolic handful of allies, most cursed with a lack of support from their home nations and hampered by rules of engagement that preclude them of being any practical use. Aid workers are few and far between in Afghanistan and constantly at risk; infrastructure improvements that would help change ancient incubators of extremism are few and far between. Kagan's idea was debunked by years of international apathy before it was ever written.

Being an intellectual, of course, Kagan feels compelled to re-offer this vinegared vintage yet again, hoping that someone will swallow it.

The simple, pragmatic fact of the matter is that no nation wants the responsibilities of another nation's struggles, but they do have every natural right to defend themselves from attack.

What Kagan cannot bring himself to write is that his beloved international community is disinterested in raising up those fractured territories. As a result of their apathy, they condemn these territories and states to be led by rogue actors, and for those within those areas to suffer reprisals. Some will deserve to die. Some will be innocents. Such is the nature of war.

Pakistan has failed to stop non-state actors from using their territory for international terrorism against their neighbors, and has morally forfeited any claims of sovereignty over the rogue regions of their nation. Indian military forces have every moral right to engage terror bases located in eastern Pakistan, as Afghani forces and coalition allies have even moral right to engage terrorist training camps and bases in the west.

This of course, will not assuage those who claim to represent "peace." Though militant Islam has been constantly at war since 632AD, these idealists, unable to understand other cultures do not think as they do, think negotiating is an answer. The militants, quite rightly, view forcing negotiations upon a far stronger power as evidence that their militancy works.

Among the polite and demure, there simply isn't understanding that sometimes, force can only be met with an overwhelming and punishing response. History shows us that terrorism stops when terrorist groups are crushed, are fractured, or are victorious. All three of those conclusions are dictated by violence.

The question is how much more innocent blood civilized societies will see run in their streets before the inevitable and overwhelming violent response that is required is finally deemed necessary.

Update: Ed Morrissey notes another reason to ignore Kagan's suggestion, primarily, how it would be used against Israel.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:04 PM | Comments (8)

November 30, 2008

NY Times Scurrying To Give Obama Victory Credit For Their Shared Defeat In Iraq

Barack Obama and his Democratic allies have famously done everything in their power to try to lose the Iraqi War while President Bush is in office, but now that everyone with any understanding of the conflict knows that the war is effectively won, Democrats are trying to steal credit for the victory they fought so hard against:

In the last year, though, the U.S. troop surge and the backlash from moderate Iraqi Sunnis against Al Qaeda and Iraqi Shiites against pro-Iranian extremists have brought a new measure of stability to Iraq. There is now, for the first time, a chance — still only a chance — that a reasonably stable democratizing government, though no doubt corrupt in places, can take root in the Iraqi political space.

That is the Iraq that Obama is inheriting. It is an Iraq where we have to begin drawing down our troops — because the occupation has gone on too long and because we have now committed to do so by treaty — but it is also an Iraq that has the potential to eventually tilt the Arab-Muslim world in a different direction.

I’m sure that Obama, whatever he said during the campaign, will play this smart. He has to avoid giving Iraqi leaders the feeling that Bush did — that he’ll wait forever for them to sort out their politics — while also not suggesting that he is leaving tomorrow, so they all start stockpiling weapons.

If he can pull this off, and help that decent Iraq take root, Obama and the Democrats could not only end the Iraq war but salvage something positive from it. Nothing would do more to enhance the Democratic Party’s national security credentials than that.

If he can pull this of?

Let's be very clear, so that even a historical revisionist like Friedman can understand it.

House and Senate Democrats, including President Elect Barack Obama, did everything in their power to lose the Iraq War, and deserve no credit for any success.

How many times in the past two years have Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and their cohorts attempted to defund our troops and force them into defeat? Forty times? Fifty? Frankly, I lost count somewhere in the mid-forties.

Now Friedman and his fellow defeatists on the left who long derided those of us who wanted to secure victory as "28-percenters," "warmongers" and "murderers" want to try to rewrite history. The Times and their fellow travelers long to rewrite their moral cowardice as a virtue, and give themselves a victory by declaration.

That will not be their legacy.

This will.

Friedman should remember this. His newspaper attempted to subsidize defeat, cutting MoveOn.Org a 61% discount to attack our top general during the surge.

A Times photographer took this picture of a Madhi Army militiaman sniping at U.S. soldiers in July of 2006. Impartially, of course.


Democrats including Barack Obama can salvage nothing from Iraq. They were clearly and proudly on the other side, and the resulting allied victory was a defeat for them as it was for al Qaeda, the insurgency, and Iran.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:53 PM | Comments (107)

November 29, 2008

Mumbai Attacks Finally Over, It's Time to Examine Our Own Weaknesses

My friend Jose at Barcepundit has been diligently following the latest on the Mumbai terrorist attacks, which now finally seem to to be winding down. The last terrorists appear to have been killed, and the process of putting out fires and recovering any remaining explosives should start winding down in the next 12-24 hours.

Read it all, as there are some major surprises, including claims that same of the attackers were British, and that a concurrent strike at Mumbai's airport was only thwarted by a missed turn.

I'd also strongly suggest reading Bill Roggio's analysis of the attacks at Long War Journal.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:01 PM | Comments (2)

November 26, 2008

Multiple Terror Attacks Ongoing in Mumbai

The Times of India is reporting multiple terror attacks that have taken place in Mumbai, India this evening. The terrorists appear to be targeting sites popular with Westerners, including luxury hotels, a restaurant, and a train station. Some outlets are claiming that the terrorists were asking specifically where the British and Americans were.

As always, early casualty reports vary wildly and should be taken with a healthy degree of skepticism. That said, the latest figures cited are 80 killed and 250+ wounded, with as many as 40 taken hostage.

The attacks seem crude as far as the weapons and tactics used, with small teams—apparently pairs—using hand grenades and fully-automatic AK-47s, along with at least one significant backpack bomb or similar device that detonated in a taxi, ripping it in half.

As I'm watching this, Fox New television is displaying a still photo of what appears to be security camera footage of a young, clean-shaven man wearing a black tee shirt carrying a folding stock AK with two 30-round magazines taped together to facilitate quick reloading, carrying a blue backpack slung over his shoulder.

The head of India's anti-terrorism squad, Hemant Karkare, is among those killed; it is unclear if he was a target, an unfortunate bystander, or responding to the attacks.

More as this develops.

Update: IBNLive claims that fighting is still on-going at 3 hotels, and that there are seven Westerners among 15 hostages. The attacks apparently began between 10:15-10:30 PM.

A report in Canada's National Post says the group claiming responsibility is the Islamic Security Force-Indian Mujahedeen. They also claimed responsibility for a serial of bombs in Assam that claimed almost 80 lives.

Update: Based upon what we're seeing filter through various media outlets thus far, the sites selected and the coordination of the attacks suggests a well-planned and researched attack, using a minimum number of terrorists per target, using common and relatively inexpensive military small arms.

They seem to be getting maximum effect in terms of disrupting Mumbai and creating carnage and chaos at the outlay of what seems to be less than two dozen total terrorists and the small arms they carried. I have no idea who the Islamic Security Force-Indian Mujahedeen are, but this strike appears to be the work of professionals with military and intelligence skills.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:34 PM | Comments (13)

November 24, 2008

Aim Small, Miss Small

Michael Ledeen notes that a force of 250 insurgents ambushed a column of 30 Marines in Bala Baluk, Afghanistan.

It was a massacre:

"The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they're given the opportunity to fight," the sniper said. "A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong." During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn't miss any shots, despite the enemies' rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position. "I was in my own little world," the young corporal said. "I wasn't even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target." After calling for close-air support, the small group of Marines pushed forward and broke the enemies' spirit as many of them dropped their weapons and fled the battlefield. At the end of the battle, the Marines had reduced an enemy stronghold, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.

20 shots. 20 kills.

Carlos Hathcock, who famously fought a five-day engagement with a company of Vietcong, would have been proud.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:04 PM | Comments (7)

November 22, 2008

Victory In Iraq Day

The Iraq Wars are over, and we have won.

Let me say that again.

WE HAVE WON THE IRAQ WARS.

And yes, I do mean to use the plural, as we have, along with our allies, won three intertwined wars:

Despite a loathing by the media to declare it such, the Iraq wars are effectively over, and we won. The first war was the second invasion of Iraq where U.S. conventional forces deposed Saddam Hussein, killed his heirs, and defeated his military in 2003. We won that one quickly. The second war, an asymmetrical conflict with al Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni insurgent groups, emerged from the rubble of the conventional conflict as a media war, where seemingly random IED strikes and vicious terrorist bombings that killed dozens at a time sought to create chaos and defeat the U.S and Iraqi will to win.

I hasten to add that this war was in many ways effective, turning the majority of Americans against the conflict and a President who refused to surrender to terrorism. Despite some serious political and military mistakes, new U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine combined with a Sunni rebellion known as the Awakening Movement to stomp out or co-opt the last significant vestiges of the insurgency. Together as allies, Americans and Iraqis have won this war as well. What remains are isolated terrorists committing regrettable and ultimately pointless attacks of violence that can no longer significantly influence the course of history.

The third war, fought concurrently with the Sunni insurgency, was a proxy war pitting the Shia government and it's coalition backers against EFP-equipped, Iranian-trained Shia militias for the control of Iraq's Shia majority. This was won earlier this year when Iraqi forces commanded by the Prime Minister and backed by American units stormed de facto Iranian strongholds throughout southern Iraq, killing or capturing hundreds of pro-Iranian militiamen and effectively neutering Muqtada al Sadr's Medhi Army.

Like all counterinsurgencies, we couldn't easily see at the time when these foes were effectively finished as a long-term threat, but with the benefit of hindsight and ever-dwindling casualty figures for all sides, it is obvious that the war Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats tried so hard to lose in Congress was won in the sands of al Anbar, the slums of Basra, and the streets of Baghdad.

The Iraq War, as men on the ground on all sides of the conflict will tell you, is over, and we—Americans and Iraqis together— won the right for the Arab world's first democracy to exist despite fierce internal and external opposition.

Because of the nature of insurgencies, our President, the Iraq Prime Minister, and the Generals commanding the coalition military forces will not formally declare the war completed, but there is no longer any violence of violence occurring in Iraq that can be properly be called a war. There hasn't been in months, and the basic conditions for victory—the enemy are dead, vanquished, or turned—have existed since July.

Zombie decided to declare today Victory in Iraq Day. I say, since the conditions are met and they've earned their victory, and should be able to call it by its proper name.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:24 AM | Comments (30)

November 20, 2008

Friendly Fire Coverup Comes to Light

Read this article and watch the 12 minutes of edited video. There is some circumstantial evidence here that two U.S. soldiers in an apparent overwatch position were mistaken for insurgents in Ramadi in 2006, and were then killed by a single shot from the main gun of a U.S Abrams tank. Audio in the clip also seems to indicate that the coaxial 7.62 machine gun on the tank also opened up on the position following the discharge of the main gun.

Friendly fire occurs in every war, even though our soldiers try very hard to minimize the risk.

Here, though, it seems that a coverup began to form within 30 minutes of the incident, before the second soldier who died was even evacuated. As his sergeant blamed the incoming fire on a tank in a radio call, he was immediately told by a superior who was not on the scene that the deaths were the result of enemy mortar fire.

That someone then ordered the rushed shredding all documentation related to the men further reeks of a coverup. I suspect we have some Captains, Majors, and perhaps even a Colonel or higher who are involved.

The Army needs to get to the bottom of this, and fast.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:05 PM | Comments (8)

November 18, 2008

Prepping to Lose Afghanistan

U.S. forces have turned over the majority of the country to Iraq security forces with little recognition by a media obsessed with the cost of Sarah Palin's campaign wardrobe. There are units that had shed their once-required body armor because threats of enemy action are so low. Some frontline units have served their tours thus far without firing a single shot.

Despite a loathing by the media to declare it such, the Iraq wars are effectively over, and we won. The first war was the second invasion of Iraq where U.S. conventional forces deposed Saddam Hussein, killed his heirs, and defeated his military in 2003. We won that one quickly. The second war, an asymmetrical conflict with al Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni insurgent groups, emerged from the rubble of the conventional conflict as a media war, where seemingly random IED strikes and vicious terrorist bombings that killed dozens at a time sought to create chaos and defeat the U.S and Iraqi will to win.

I hasten to add that this war was in many ways effective, turning the majority of Americans against the conflict and a President who refused to surrender to terrorism. Despite some serious political and military mistakes, new U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine combined with a Sunni rebellion known as the Awakening Movement to stomp out or co-opt the last significant vestiges of the insurgency. Together as allies, Americans and Iraqis have won this war as well. What remains are isolated terrorists committing regrettable and ultimately pointless attacks of violence that can no longer significantly influence the course of history.

The third war, fought concurrently with the Sunni insurgency, was a proxy war pitting the Shia government and it's coalition backers against EFP-equipped, Iranian-trained Shia militias for the control of Iraq's Shia majority. This was won earlier this year when Iraqi forces commanded by the Prime Minister and backed by American units stormed de facto Iranian strongholds throughout southern Iraq, killing or capturing hundreds of pro-Iranian militiamen and effectively neutering Muqtada al Sadr's Medhi Army.

Like all counterinsurgencies, we couldn't easily see at the time when these foes were effectively finished as a long-term threat, but with the benefit of hindsight and ever-dwindling casualty figures for all sides, it is obvious that the war Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats tried so hard to lose in Congress was won in the sands of al Anbar, the slums of Basra, and the streets of Baghdad.

The Iraq War, as men on the ground on all sides of the conflict will tell you, is over, and we—Americans and Iraqis together— won the right for the Arab world's first democracy to exist despite fierce internal and external opposition.

Unable to force a loss in Iraq before taking office and now nearly unable to lose, Barack Obama's allies are already setting their sights on losing the other major conflict engaging our military, attempting to concede Pakistan's tribal areas and Afghanistan to al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other Islamofacist terrorist groups.

Since the beginnings of the buildup that led to the Iraq War, the same far left "war is never the answer (unless we get to build the concentration camps)" set that didn't want us to invade Afghanistan suddenly declared that was the "good" war, that Afghanistan should be our focus, and that getting Osama bin Laden should be the primary, if not singular focus of the entire war on terror.

With Barack Obama now secured as the President Elect, TIME now declares that winning the Af-Pak conflict and getting Osama isn't all that important after all:

The important point of Hayden's Atlantic talk Thursday was that Muslims have turned against bin Laden, realizing that his campaign against the West has ended up killing more Muslims than it has Islam's enemies. Al-Qaeda may be picking up adherents in North Africa and Yemen, preparing its return, but it certainly is no longer in a position to destabilize Saudi Arabia or any other Arab country. And, although Hayden didn't say it, there is no good evidence bin Laden is capable of mounting a large-scale attack. He failed to pull off an October surprise, as many in the FBI and CIA had feared he would.

Despite all this, whether bin Laden is alive or dead is actually pretty irrelevant. Obama has no real choice but to revitalize the search for him, if only for political considerations. If al-Qaeda were to attack in the United States the first months of his term, Obama would end up for the rest of it explaining why he wasn't more vigilant.

But what if bin Laden really is dead, buried under a hundred tons of rock at Tora Bora or so weakened that he might as well be dead? Indefinitely crashing around Afghanistan and Pakistan's wild, mountainous tribal region on a ghost hunt cannot serve our interests. The longer we leave troops in Afghanistan the worse the civil war there will become. One day Obama will need to give up the hunt — declare bin Laden either dead or irrelevant. He has more important enemies to deal with, from Iran to Russia.

I am more than happy to concede that bin Laden is either dead or irrelevant; that is an argument that many on the right and within the military have been making for a very long time. It has been the American left and Democrats in Congress that obsessed with making bin Laden a symbol of the war they argued we should be fighting instead of the war in Iraq. Now that Iraq is won and they have control of both branches of Congress and the White House, they're suddenly attempting to shift the goalposts.

Instead of focusing on winning the war they have been insisting is the "right" war to fight, they're now attempting to trivialize it and minimize expectations of what we can accomplish so that can build the political cover to withdrawal, sans victory. Rest assured... they will find a way to blame President Bush for not winning, instead of accepting responsibility for the loss they are now hard at work trying to engineer.

Certainly, Afghanistan is in far more dire straits than Iraq, but it is a war that can still be won if Democrats decide it is worth committing to win. Sadly, so many of those now in Congress grew up in the 60s and 70s and have a systemic case of Vietnam Syndrome. They don't know how to win. They don't care to win, and in deeply disturbed, self-loathing, and broken parts of their psyche, they don't think we deserve to win wars.

Prepare for defeat, America.

After all, it is the change you elected.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:17 AM | Comments (10)

November 17, 2008

Big Country Checks In

Long-time readers of CY may know "Big Country" from his first-hand reflections of the situation in Iraq as someone who has spent more time in theater than out of it since the war began. He just got back to Baghdad, and shot me the following in an email.

Just touched down 3 +/- hours ago at Sather AB. Dude... INSANELY changed doesn't begin to describe this place. I've landing in Baghdad under fire before and watched random acts of anti-aircraft fire overhead as the locals would try and unsuccessfully utilize old triple a flak guns... I've seen Baghdad under lock and key so to speak throughout 04 and 05. NUTHIN and I do mean NUTHIN can begin to describe the change. Quick observations included the fact that the city was all lit up where it had never been before. Try standing on the runway and not having to worry about random acts of rockets, mortars and suchlike. Try no body armor seen on anyone anywhere since I've been here... This place is so laid back its stupid dude... I'll post more to you and my blog later... but as Yon said "We Won." I'd have to add "In Spades!" to that.

Seems to be a lot of that going around lately.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:36 PM | Comments (5)

November 14, 2008

"The Iraq War is Over. We Won."

Though he'd been on a mission all day and was about to drop, Mike Yon just called from Iraq to let me know that the war is over, and we've won. Whatever it is that is left of violence, there isn't combat. Roughly half of the men in the unit of the 10th Mountain Division he was out on missions with are veterans with previous tours of Iraq and Afghanistan, and in eight months into their deployment in southern Baghdad, they haven't fired a single bullet in combat.

Our soldiers in Iraq have played many roles and worn many hats, but it seems that their primary role now is that of a peacekeeper, providing support to a government and a people that seem increasingly capable of handling their own affairs.

We can declare victory because President Bush wouldn't quit on his troops. If Barack Obama had his way, a triumphant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would have had a chance to have made the same claim over the Caliphate of Iraq.

Glenn Reynolds has more.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:41 PM | Comments (35)

November 07, 2008

Bad News In The Badlands

Khar, Pakistan:

A homicide bomber attacked a gathering of anti-militant Pakistani tribesmen Thursday, killing nine and wounding 45 in a northwestern region where the military has clashed with insurgents for months, officials said.

The attack in the Batmalai area of the Bajur tribal region was the latest to target tribal militias that have sprung up — with government backing — to take on Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters nested along the Afghan border.

Pakistan launched an offensive in Bajur three months ago to dismantle what it said was a virtual Taliban mini-state that is a source of militants flowing into Afghanistan.

The Salarzai tribesmen were preparing to stage an assault on local militant hide-outs when the blast occurred, said Iqbal Khattak, a government official. Malik Rahimullah, a tribal elder, said the bomb exploded as soon as armed contingents began to move.

He and officials initially said it appeared that a remote-controlled bomb was used, but later Khattak said mutilated body parts of an apparent homicide bomber were found, and that witnesses said they saw a young man rushing into the crowd before the explosion.

Amir Khan, a tribesman, said the scene was littered with severed limbs and that several tribal elders were among the dead.

After failing in their own efforts against the Taliban, al Qaeda, and related groups, the Pakistani military has attempted to spur a tribal rebellion against these groups akin to the "Awakening" movement in Iraq. These efforts will fail.

Period.

The question is whether or not the war in the tribal areas will spread into a civil war, and how secure Pakistan's nuclear warheads will be in the event of such a conflict.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:03 AM | Comments (3)

October 29, 2008

Veterans versus Murtha

It's time for Jack Murtha to apologize to the Marines he smeared. Our veterans deserve nothing less.



Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:53 PM | Comments (4)

October 23, 2008

Remembering the Fallen

Twenty-five years ago today was the terrorist attack on U.S. Marines in Beirut.

Remember them.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2008

No Awakening in Pakistan

Why an Iraqi-style Awakening movement in Pakistan is destined to fail.

My latest
at PJM.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

October 13, 2008

The Road to Hell

Michael Yon's latest dispatchfrom Afghanistan is posted, in which he meets with Afghan fighters, and obtains clues about those fighters that ambushed and killed ten French soldiers in August.

As always, Yon's reporting is reader-funded, so if you like his reporting, please consider contributing.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2008

U.S. Embassy in San'a, Yemen Survives Car Bombing, Assault

Word coming in right now claims that at least one primary blast thought to be a car bomb and numerous smaller blasts thought to be RPGs were detonated near the front gate of the U.S. Embassy compound in San'a, Yemen, and the blasts were followed by gunfire.

Sky News is saying the attackers were dressed as soldiers, and notes that the Yemeni branch of the Islamic Jihad had made threats just three days ago.

Reuters notes that the U.S. Embassy says no Americans were among the wounded.

According to CNN, ten police and civilians were killed, as were six attackers.

Developing...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:19 AM | Comments (1)

September 16, 2008

Will Obama Honor His Commitment to the Af-Pak War? Will We?

As I write this I'm IM-ing Michael Yon on the far side of the world, and the Iraq War's most experienced embedded combat journalist is frustrated with the lack of interest in the Afghanistan-Pakistan War. Yon's Death in the Corn, Part 1 is a riveting story in a war the mainstream media has largely abandoned in order to cover far more pressing issues, such as developing new smears to float against Sarah Palin in a desperate attempt to extend the expiration date of Tina Fey's career on Saturday Night Live.

Yon's current series of combat dispatches from inside C- Company 2 Para of the British Army in Afghanistan's Helmand Province alludes to near constant war with the Taliban, but the reader interest simply doesn't seem to be there.

Ironically, the same media that tried to subvert the war in Iraq with a flood of biased reporting is far more effectively neutering support for the campaign against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan through negligence and indifference.

Americans will support our soldiers when they can see what they are fighting for. Americans must be able to empathize with our soldiers, and those they would set free. That is the reason Yon's iconic photograph of the Iraq war, of Major Mark Bieger cradling an Iraqi girl named Farah as he rushed to get her aid when she was mortally wounded by an car bomb, mattered so much. It proved that humanizing element. But even as powerful as his photos are, and as compelling as his writing is, Yon cannot carry the coverage of the Af-Pak War on alone.

And the Af-Pak War promises to get far worse before it gets better.

Al Qaeda and the Taliban have been using the tribal regions of Pakistan along the Afghan border as a sanctuary with the blessing and support of the ISI, Pakistan's most powerful intelligence service. President Bush, frustrated by the refusal of the Pakistani government to more actively act as an ally against al Qaeda and the Taliban, secretly authorized cross-border special forces raids, the authorization of which was of course loudly trumpeted in pages of the New York Times.

As a result, an embarrassed Pakistani military was compelled to announce they would fire on U.S. forces if they crossed the border. Allies? Perhaps we never really were, though we certainly liked to pretend that it were so. That illusion now seems to be falling away.

Interestingly, Pakistan's involvement, and the need to take the fight into the tribal regions, may have been one of the things that Barack Obama's army of 300 policy advisers got right, and as Chrstopher Hitchen's notes, may lead a much more involved and bloody war.

Sen. Barack Obama has, if anything, been the more militant of the two presidential candidates in stressing the danger here and the need to act without too much sentiment about our so-called Islamabad ally. He began using this rhetoric when it was much simpler to counterpose the "good" war in Afghanistan with the "bad" one in Iraq. Never mind that now; he is committed in advance to a serious projection of American power into the heartland of our deadliest enemy. And that, I think, is another reason why so many people are reluctant to employ truthful descriptions for the emerging Afghan-Pakistan confrontation: American liberals can't quite face the fact that if their man does win in November, and if he has meant a single serious word he's ever said, it means more war, and more bitter and protracted war at that—not less.

Two-important questions are raised by Hitchens' article.

  • Will Republican Presidential candidate John McCain adopt Obama's more muscular approach in dealing with Pakistan's support of the Taliban if elected?
  • Will Barack Obama have the mettle for a rare and prolonged break with his base and the Democratic Party he has voted with 96-percent of the time if elected, to fight the war he argues must be fought?

If McCain adopts a more muscular support, his track records suggests that he is willing to shoulder the burden of being unpopular, if it means seeing the war through to victory.

Barack Obama? He's never had to stand on his own before, and I'm not sure he's even tried.

If he is elected, and rises to the challenge of his rhetoric, I suspect he'll be as surprised as the rest of us.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:11 AM | Comments (5)

September 14, 2008

FYI: Yon From Afghanistan Tonight on BlogTalk Radio

Michael Yon, currently embedded with British Paras in a combat outpost in Afghanistan, will be a guest Sunday Sept 14 at 11:00 PM on The JihadiKiller Hour on BlogTalk Radio. Listen if you can.

Yon's next dispatch "Death In the Corn" will be posted at http://www.michaelyon-online.com/ tomorrow.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:00 PM | Comments (1)

August 26, 2008

Jeep Jihadi Gets Up to 33 Years

Progressive university town that Chapel Hill is, they'll probably have some there protest the decision which resulted from Taheri-Azar's attempt to kill UNC-Chapel Hill students in The Pit with a rented SUV.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:52 PM | Comments (1)

August 19, 2008

Shocker: NY Times Decries Laughably Incompetent Taliban Rout As "Complex Attack"

You've got to be kidding me:

The attack on Camp Salerno in Khost Province was one of the most complex attacks seen so far in Afghanistan with multiple suicide bombers and a backup fighting force that tried to breach defenses on to the airport at the base. It followed a suicide car bombing at the outer entrance to the same base on Monday morning, which killed 12 Afghan workers lining up to enter the base, and another attempted bombing that was thwarted shortly after.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for all three attacks in Khost. Their spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahed, reached by telephone at an unknown location, said that 15 suicide bombers, equipped with machine guns and vests packed with explosives, with 30 militants backing them up, attacked the base, one of the largest foreign military bases in Afghanistan. He claimed that some of the bombers had gotten inside the base and had killed a number of American soldiers and destroyed equipment and helicopters. This last claim was denied by General Azimi of the Afghan military.

Suicide bombers mull about while preparing for an attack against a fortified U.S./Afghan position, receive minimal support in the form of small arms cover fire from a small band of untrained militant irregulars before helicopters chop them to bits, and this is what the Times considers a "complex attack?"

No artillery or mortar support.

No mention of any flanking attack or feints.

No mention of even minimal attempts to camouflage the suicide bombers by disguising them as civilians or base workers or members of the opposite sex.

As a matter of fact, they didn't even manage a straight ahead, mindless assault into interlocking fields of fire. They got spotted well outside the perimeter and got cut to shreds while still 1,000 yards outside the base, and the majority of the Taliban seem to have been killed as they tried to flee. Is it even fair to say they were killed in an attack, when it appears they were blown to bits before the attack began?

Not that I'm singling out the Times for crappy coverage of the attack, The Scotsman account sounds like a Monty Python skit:

NATO troops and Taliban fighters clashed today after a group of the insurgents, backed by suicide bombers, tried to breach the defences of the main US base in south-eastern Afghanistan.

Backed by suicide bombers? I guess that is one way of making sure there will be no retreat.

The attack on the French base, by contrast, had far more deadly ramifications, with 10 French soldiers killed and another 21 wounded, but for the Times to try to inflate the importance or the complexity of the Taliban attack on Camp Salerno beyond the buffonish, ill-advised and utter failure that it was isn't simply bad reporting, but verges on making excuses for the other side.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:06 PM | Comments (30)

August 12, 2008

UNC "Jeep Jihadi" Pleads Guilty

Via WRAL:

Mohammed Taheri-azar, the man accused of trying to run over students at UNC-Chapel Hill two years ago, pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to nine counts of attempted first-degree murder.

He will be sentenced later this month.

Taheri-azar was accused of driving a Jeep Cherokee through The Pit, a popular student gathering space on campus, in March 2006.

He was charged with nine counts of attempted murder. At the time of the attack, Taheri-azar told police he wanted to injure people in response to the U.S. government's treatment of Muslims abroad.

This is the Pit, the area where Taheri-azar, a UNC graduate, tried to kill his fellow students. In a March 5, 2007 court appearance he stated he "hates all Americans" and "hates all Jews."

Shockingly, the Iranian-born American citizen didn't hate American enough to leave it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2008

Summer Camp?

That is what Reuter's says this picture portrays.

The caption reads, "Palestinian youths attend a summer camp organised by the Islamic Jihad movement in Gaza City July 30, 2008."

The Islamic Jihad, of course, is a terrorist group established with the goal of wiping out the Jewish state of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic Palestinian state. Their interests include Qassam rocketry, suicide bombings, and martyr operations.

This isn't a "summer camp" as we would recognize it. This is the modern Hitler Youth.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:22 AM | Comments (3)

July 23, 2008

A Russian "Greenlight" to Attack Iran?

That is one intriguing interpretation of today's disclosure that Iran would be getting the long range Russian surface-to-air missile system known as the S-300PMU-1 (SA-20), and that the system would be deployable in as soon as six months from their expected September arrival.

The Russians no doubt relish the contortions the West is going through over Iran's nuclear program, but at the same time, their intelligence organizations are telling them that Iran is working on developing nuclear weapons and missile technologies that can also threaten Russian interests.

By selling the Iranians advanced weapons systems and then disclosing their most likely deployment dates, the Russians are trying to have their cake and eat it too.

They've outlined the outside window of Iran's greatest vulnerability to an air assault on its nuclear program and command and control facilities. It only remains to be seen now whether or not American and Israeli leaders will strike with enough force to irreparably destroy key elements of the Iranian nuclear program, or if they will make the deadly mistake of trying to avert a nuclear war "on the cheap."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:58 PM | Comments (4)

July 16, 2008

While the Media Slept...

...another province, Diwaniyah, was handed over to Iraqi government control.

This means that for the first time, a democratically-elected Iraqi government is in charge of a majority of the country (10 of 18 provinces). The largest province and former home of the Sunni insurgency, al Anbar, is on the cusp of being handed over as well.

You would think that turning point such as the Iraqis taking over the control of the majority of their country would be a moment that editorial writers, always looking for moments pregnant with symbolism, would gush over.

Alas, Iraq isn't as newsworthy with victory so near at hand (and with the anointed candidate faltering so badly), and so this milestone goes all but unreported.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:18 PM | Comments (4)

July 15, 2008

Framing Obama

Matthew Yglesias wants to get into a framing discussion and attempts to argue than an ABC poll was unfair to his man-crush/candidate.

Without nailing down the dishonesties in Yglesias' attempts to recast McCain's position, let's get into the specifics of what will be lost by Obama's 16-month withdrawal plan.

Logistically, it is deemed quite improbable, verging on impossible, for U.S. combat forces to perform an orderly withdrawal in 16 months. A withdrawal of personnel is possible, but at the cost of leaving behind hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars in taxpayer-purchased equipment that would have to be repurchased stateside, increasing future government debt, promising us yet another tax increase courtesy of Obama.

A commenter of his (Allan) claims that "Obama supports removing our troops from Iraq in an orderly process," but that is the height of fantasy; those who work in logistics have noted that his plan would promote chaos and unnecessary stresses on the supply chain and limited port facilities that have to process, decontaminate, pack, and ship outbound equipment and supplies.

This is simply the logistical argument, ignoring the dangers of a too-quick handover in provinces where Iraqi forces are still not deemed capable of taking the lead. Considering the stellar progress and trajectory of security gains and government progress in the last year, it is possible that in 16 months that the Iraqi security forces can take the lead in the eight remaining provinces where the U.S. is in charge of security, but it would be foolish and counterproductive to predetermine the removal of the safety net U.S. forces would still provide as Iraqi forces become more competent and confident.

Unless, of course, you have some vested interest in defeat.

Then there is the simple common-sense matter of which troops Obama wants to remove (combat forces). As a Iraqi war soldier or Marine (I forget which) remarked last week, who's going to be left in Obama's Army in Iraq, cooks and truck drivers?

Who is going to protect our remaining troops and positions and backstop the Iraqis if Obama pulls out our combat troops? Supply clerks? Dental hygienists?

Obama's plans for Iraq, like all of his other plans, are formulated with the impulsiveness and lack of concern for the unintended consequences of international affairs we'd expect from a neophyte government official not even one term removed from an inconsequential and lackluster state government stint, and a responsibility-free community organizer job before it.

Like so many things attached to the name Obama, his withdrawal plan for Iraqi is based upon irresponsible promises divorced from what he can actually deliver without causing far more hurt, a truism of his campign that can just as readily be applied to his domestic and foreign policy perscriptions.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:10 AM | Comments (4)

July 10, 2008

Never Too Late to Spread a Little Fear

You have to give credit where credit is due: the Washington Post isn't quite ready to surrender to victory in Iraq, and they're not above hyping a desperate bid for relevance by waning Shia militias as a significant tactical adaptation.

U.S. Troops in Iraq Face A Powerful New Weapon by Ernesto Londoño of the Washington Post Foreign Service was a much better article the first time I read it over a month ago in Bill Roggio's far more useful Long War Journal article, which the Post mentions but doesn't link. I can only assume that the Post failed to link Roggio's article because is so much more competently written.

While Londoño seems intent on describing a weapon system that is a an improvement over past improvised devices in describing a weapon that has killed at least 21 people, he buries the fact that 18 of those 21 (16 civilians, two Madhi Army militiamen) were killed as a result of the jury-rigged bombs failing, and detonating in their launchers.

The so-called IRAM is a crude, desperate weapon apparently designed by the Judean People's Front.

I'm not surprised that the Post would try to hype potential bad news in Iraq, but a crude weapon that has killed six times more people on the launching end than the receiving end seems more ripe for mocking than fear.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:50 AM | Comments (5)

July 09, 2008

Iraqi Government Considers Timetable for U.S. Withdrawal

They aren't quite ready for coalition forces to leave just yet, but the dramatic gains in terms of security and political successes now have the Iraqi government suggesting a possible U.S. withdrawal.

The Iraqis are confident in their ability to handle their own affairs, and I can certainly understand them wanting Iraq fully back in Iraqi hands. They're hoping for a pull-out in the 2011-13 timeframe and would like to try to establish a deadline based upon "conditions and circumstances" on the ground.

Considering the present situation in Iraq, I certainly think that a pullout in that 3-5 year window is certainly possible, though I can understand why some in Washington may be leery committing to date-based withdrawal schedule, just as I can understand why Iraqis would like to have a specific date to look forward to. As the Iraqi government and coalition forces negotiate, perhaps the best option—and to my mind, the most logical—would be a compromise agreement, that says by X date, Y forces should withdraw if Z conditions have been met, and if not by that date, as soon as those conditions are met.

This would give Iraqis not just a date to look forward to, but give them more incentive to make sure that security and political needs of their citizens are being addressed.

What would be hilarious in watching these developments—if it wasn't so pathetic—are progressive Democrats crowing about this recent decision by Iraqi officials, insisting that a timeline for withdrawal is exactly what they've been asking for all along.

Not so fast.

Some progressives have been pushing for a withdrawal since before the first bomb dropped on Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Some are genuinely opposed to the idea of all wars for any reason, some were opposed to a war launched for reasons they disagreed with by a government they disagreed with, and some fickle souls began pushing for withdrawal only once the conflict became more bloody, expensive, and protracted than they assumed it would be.

However they got to that position, they got there by the worst days of the war in 2006, when Sunni and Shia militias were locked in a deadly sectarian conflict verging on open civil war, and coalition forces were taking heavy casualties. At the time John Murtha, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and other Congressional Democrats were calling the loudest for a timeline for withdrawing American forces in Iraq, the safety and security of the Iraqi people and the success of their nation was the last thing on their minds.

Democrats wanted American troops pulled out of Iraq as soon as logistically possible, without preconditions, even if it plunged that nation into open an civil war that could cost tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent lives, even if such a headlong withdrawal led to genocide, even if such a morally bankrupt decision led to a widespread regional war.

It was and is a craven, reprehensible act of cowardice, mirroring the shameful behavior of the Copperhead Democrats 140 years earlier who wanted to abandon Blacks to slavery in the South to sue for peace in the U.S. Civil War.

The Copperheads of today's Democratic Party color themselves "progressives" for championing the abandonment of a group of people (slightly lighter in skin tone than the last time) to a fate potentially as bad or worse than the slaves of antebellum, and make no mistake: the modern Copperheads care no more about "liberty and justice for all" than did their forebearers.

Then as now, it was about their selfish personal desires, hopes of amassing political power, and disdain for a stubborn Republican President. Then as now, they could rely upon their friends in the media to carry forth a call for appeasement and abandonment.

But the situation now in Iraq is far different now than it was when progressive Democrats began advocating the abandonment Iraqi civilians to a bloody fate.

Now, it is an increasingly competent and confident Iraqi government itself that builds hope of a U.S. withdrawal, based upon their growing strength and the continuing vanquishment of terrorists, criminal militias, and common gangs.

A timeline for withdrawal based upon Iraqi and coalition successes is to be commended as a beacon of hope for a brighter future for a new and sovereign democracy in the Middle East, just as the timeline of abandonment and defeat advocated by progressive Democrats should be regarded by history as a mark of shame.

Update: A bit dog barks.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:52 AM | Comments (12)

Homegrown Terrorists Killed Outside U.S. Consulate in Istanbul

Three gunmen ambushed Turkish police outside the U.S. consulate in Instanbul, Turkey today, in an attack that left all three attackers and three Turkish police officers dead, but not before the police killed their assailants.

The attack was carried out with handguns and a pump shotgun, indicating this was not the work of an organized terrorist organization such as al Qaeda or Hezbollah. These groups have a well-documented history of using large vehicle-borne explosives to carry out attacks against fortified positions such as embassies and consulates. Using such short-range weaponry in such a poorly executed and apparently ad hoc assault, the attack had virtually no chance of success, and no one was apparently injured inside the consulate.

A fourth man seen with the three attackers never left a gray car seen at a nearby carwash moments before the ambush, and escaped after his compatriots were killed.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:15 AM | Comments (2)

July 08, 2008

Map Quest

"...a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."

Such were the famous words of Shakespeare's MacBeth, though they apply equally well to empty Iranian threats against U.S. Naval vessels in the Persian Gulf in case of conflict between our nations.

The simple fact of the matter is that should tensions escalate, U.S. capital ships have no need to be in the Persian Gulf to control the Iranian shoreline and the Straits of Hormuz.

The image above, pulled from Google Maps, shows, small body of water on the left is the Persian Gulf. The large body on the right is the Gulf of Oman, outlet to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean (larger map).

U.S. carriers, amphibious assault ships, and larger surface ships can easily leave the Persian Gulf via the Straits of Hormuz if a strike on Iran is imminent, far removing them from the range of Iranian surface ships, aircraft, and radar stations. This negates the threat of Iranian anti-ship missiles, and turns the threat of blindly-fired ballistic missiles into irrelevancies splashing down in empty seas.

Iran would retain the ability to strike Israel, and could no doubt stir up trouble in Iraq via it's terror cells there, or even an open but suicidal direct assault against American forces in Iraq and elsewhere on land throughout the Gulf region, but the threats of a Iranian counterstrike against U.S. Naval forces is little more than bluster.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:38 AM | Comments (17)

June 27, 2008

We Must Still be Losing

Tell the Democrats we're running out of people to which we can surrender.

Abu Khalaf (a pseudonym) was the top al Qaeda leader in Mosul, al Qaeda's last reputed stronghold in Iraq, until American soldiers shot him full of holes. Further south, al Sadr's Madhi Army may be falling apart, with perhaps as few as 150 military members.

So, will someone please bring me up to speed on Barack Obama's position this hour? Is he still insisting that it is 2006 in Iraq, that the situation is untenable, and that the best thing we can do is withdraw all our forces in an expensive, resource-abandoning retreat that many experts suspect could trigger a regional war that makes today's gas prices look like a bargain and trigger a worldwide depression?

I ask, because it's rather difficult to keep up with his positions these days as he continues to throw his principles, campaign promises, friends, mentors, and supporters under the proverbial bus to bow at the alter of political expediency.

I kid, of course.

I don't seriously think Obama will change his position on Iraq being lost, as that is the only viable issue of his campaign once you eliminate his Carteresque economic schemes, head-in-the-sand energy policy, his Clintonian heathcare plan, and his beautifully empty platitudes. What he and his allies will try to do is attempt to redefine losing and winning, and try to cast obvious developing successes as defeats. If he can't successfully redefine success into failure, Barack Obama is finished as a viable candidate.

Update: Dr. Krauthammer is equally unimpressed with Obama's constantly shifting positions, and the media's unwillingness to challenge him.

It's an odd relationship Obama has with journalists. He treats them with the arrogant disdain of last night's 2:00 AM hookup, and still they pine over him, happily used, as they're shown the door.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:47 AM | Comments (7)

June 24, 2008

A Sad Day for Copperheads

You won't easily find it on Fox News or CNN or Google News, but somewhere, between the shocking news that Don Imus might have a race-relations problem and the ground-breaking development that Palestinians have engaged in self-defeating random violence, most of us seemed to miss that a dream is more than halfway towards completion.

Al Anbar province in Iraq, once described as all but lost, will become the tenth Iraqi province handed over to Iraqi government control:

The U.S. military will transfer control of security in Anbar Province to Iraqi forces this week, the governor of the region said Monday, a remarkable turnaround given that the region was considered lost to insurgents less than two years ago.

Anbar will be the 10th of 18 provinces in Iraq to return security matters to Iraqi control since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, but it will be the first Sunni Arab region to do so.

Mamun Sami Rasheed, governor of Anbar Province, said the handover ceremony would take place Saturday. "We have been dreaming of this event since 2003," he said.

With ten provinces down and eight to go, we are passing a milestone of sorts. More than half of the country will be under the control of a democratically-elected Iraqi government, the first freely-elected Arab government in modern history. You would think that Democrats would be thrilled at this step towards freedom, as the turnover also means we are one small step closer to a withdrawal from Iraq, which they claim to be their goal.

Barack Obama isn't trumpeting the good news, however. Left-leaning blogs also appear to be silent on the issue, or nearly so, if Memeorandum is a guide. Instead, liberal bloggers there seem more interested in reacting to Glenn Greenwald's latest long-winded rant about FISA (while ignoring Greenwald's own history of wiretapping, of course).

Al Anbar? It doesn't seem to exist.

With ever passing day that Iraq inches towards success or takes a dramatic leap, it becomes ever more apparent that many Democrats in this country, be they members of the news media, the new media, elected officials, or the activist left, don't just want the United States out of Iraq. They want us cast out or withdrawn in defeat.

The al Anbar handover is symbolic in nature as well as practical, and good news for two Democratic nations. Sadly Democratic leaders cannot join in sharing the good news, because what is good for the United States and what is good for the citizens of Iraq is not good for Harry Reid, or Nancy Pelosi, or Barack Obama.

How sad this day must be for Democrats that are more loyal to their nation than the spite-based political ideology of their fellow travelers.

Update: Peter Wehner, writing at NRO's The Corner, concludes:

Iraq has gone from broken to fragile and slowly mending. Even now, though, leading Democrats seem wholly uninterested in the outcome in Iraq; all they care about is withdrawing American troops. It is a commitment they hold with ideological and theological intensity – and if they are ever allowed to act on their convictions, misery and death and defeat would follow.
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:47 PM | Comments (9)

June 20, 2008

The Real "Dead-Enders"

It has been fascinating—and often more than a little infuriating—to watch the anti-Administration wing of the anti-war movement over the past year.

I'd like to first make that distinction clear: there are those who are against the concept of warfare to resolve conflicts, and those that are against this war in specific because they have an acute loathing for their domestic political opposition, led by the current President. Make no mistake: so many of those who presently claim to be anti-war now would change their position on military intervention in an heartbeat if it meant intervening in Darfur or (_fill_in_the_blank_), if it satisfied their political desires and could be painted as a "humanitarian" mission.

Those politically-motivated progressives that see anti-war sentiment as little more than a way to grab power via the ballot box have been most aggravating and occasionally amusing. They saw that an unpopular and protracted war was a way to market themselves to pick up seats in Congress in 2004 and 2006, and hoped perhaps they could ride anti-war sentiment to the White House in 2008.

They rallied behind an eloquent dove of a candidate who has repeatedly promised America to withdrawal U.S. forces on a rigid 16-month timetable, regardless of condition on the ground or the effect it would have on the Iraqi people or on the stability of the region.

That timetable was predicated upon conditions on the ground in Iraq in 2006, when violence was spiraling out of control, and it seemed all but assured that Iraq would become a failed state. Obviously, a lot has changed in the time since Barack Obama predicated his campaign on achieving defeat, and in the past year in particular.

Violence dropped as U.S. and Iraqi forces moved off-base and into the communities, and as the communities themselves began rejecting insurgents, terrorists, gangs, and rogue militias. The Iraqi Parliament, once almost as ineffective as our current Congress, has passed important reconciliation legislation, including an amnesty law that has already led to hundreds of captured insurgents, including Associated Press personnel, to be set free.

Though leading Democrats like Harry Reid still insist that the war is lost, and the Speaker of the House insists that any progress must be due to Iran's moderating influence (and not the success of American and Iraqi forces in killing those carrying out those "moderating Iranian influences") it has become obvious to most of the world that the Iraqi experiment just might work and is well worth pursuing.

Austin Bay noted this morning that freshman Senator Hopeandchange may be trying to distance himself from his adopted policy of purposeful defeat (h/t: Instapundit):

Obama still touts his pull-out — sort of, occasionally, okay, less occasionally. Obama, like his cohort of supporters, is politically committed to defeat. Obama will now rely on rhetoric to assauge the DailyKos-crowd and obscure his shift on Iraq. He will change his position– and Samantha Power prepared the way several months ago in her ill-fated BBC interview this past spring. Obama thinks he can get away with it: he just backed out of public financing.

The NY Times on the deal before the vote. And Fox.

The real rubes in this election won’t be the rural Midwesterners Obama slandered, the ones who cling to their guns and religon. It will be the gray-haired profs with ponytails, clinging to their cannabis and liturgy of defeat.

When Obama quietly slinks aways from his signature issue and the anti-Bush wing of the anti-war movement loses their defeat-at-any-cost pledgemaster, what will become of the anti-war progressive fringe?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:21 AM | Comments (40)

June 18, 2008

An Army Learns

Over at The Donovan, proof that this generation of military leaders is learning from mistakes made in the past.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:03 AM | Comments (0)

June 13, 2008

al Sadr Crafting an Iraqi Hezbollah?

Via email from a trusted source, a VOI account. It looks like al Sadr is going to continue his Iranian-backed insurrection against the Iraqi government:

The anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Friday expressed intention to authorize setting up "cells to resist the occupation", head of the political bureau of Sadr's Movement said.

"The declaration by Sayyed Muqtada al-Sadr to form cells to resist the
occupation comes in full conformity with the approach of the
Sadrists," Sheikh Liwa Semaysam told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq-
(VOI) on the phone.

The key Sadrist leader added that these cells will "have a written
authorization by Sayyed Muqtada al-Sadr to carry out their task, on
the condition that arms will only be in their hands for use against
the occupier and none else."

Sheikh Semaysam, a close aide of Sadr, provided no further details.

If true—and apparently, it is—al Sadr is attempting to split and sanction a military wing off of the Madhi Army and Iranian "Special groups" to continue insurgent operations, while making at least a face-value attempt to demilitarize the organization.

Intresting, isn't it?

Iran tried to infiltrate Iraqi government at all levels, along with militia groups and criminal gangs. Obviously, as PM Maliki's clearing out of Sadrists from Baghdad to Basra proved, the government route has failed, and the militia route is on the ropes.

As a result, al Sadr is apparently attempting to craft an Iraqi Hezbollah, entrenching his group socially as an Iranian-supported shadow government with it's own insurgent military wing. Iraq's security forces and government are far less fractured than those in Lebanon, so it seems unlikely that al Sadr's hopes will come to fruition, but the development does raise an interesting question, namely: is this the best Iran has left?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:45 AM | Comments (8)

June 04, 2008

What Lies Will He Tell Today?

Over at Hot Air this morning, Ed Morrissey points to an article in the Weekly Standard about Barack Obama's opposition to the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment designating Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization:

These designations are more than just rhetorical; labeling the IRGC as a terrorist organization brings to bear a range of powerful sanctions that crack down on its ability to work in the global financial system.

The proximate cause of the Kyl-Lieberman amendment was a growing dossier of evidence from General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, documenting the IRGC's role in financing, training, arming, and directing extremists in Iraq responsible for the murder of hundreds of American and Iraqi soldiers and civilians.

Of course, that's not the full extent of the IRGC's malign influence. The group is an acknowledged supporter of terror (a fact even Senator Obama concedes), training, financing and arming Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and most recently, the Taliban. At home in Iran, the IRGC now dominates the regime, with 9 out of 21 seats in the Ahmadinejad cabinet held by former IRGC and IRGC-affiliated officials. The IRGC is also a vital player in Iran's licit and illicit economies, and dominates important sectors like construction.

Needless to say, the Kyl-Lieberman amendment won broad support in the Senate, passing 76-22. Senator Hillary Clinton voted for it, as did Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senator Chuck Schumer, and Senator Dick Durbin.

Senator Obama, however, was one of a handful of senators who opposed the amendment--which had aroused the ire of the left-wing blogosphere. In the frenzied minds of DailyKos and Moveon.org, Kyl-Lieberman--or "Lieberman-Kyl," as they preferred to call it--was nothing less than a stealth declaration of war on Iran.

So if the National Journal's Most Liberal Senator is still taking marching orders from Kossacks and the "General Betray Us" radicals of Moveon.org, where, precisely, is Obama's claimed but never seen bipartisanship? It doesn't exist. It never has.

As Ed astutely notes:

There are only two reasons to oppose the application of sanctions on Iran. Either one wants to go to war and skip all of the other options, or doesn't believe Iran to be a threat and a sponsor of terror. Into which group should we put Barack Obama?

Obama, who resolutely refuses to acknowledge changing fortunes in Iraq (the more than year-long string of successes there are not changes he can believe in), obviously takes the later, "see no evil" view.

Pro-Palestinian Obama will try to gloss over his record (such as the Kyl-Lieberman vote) and his past associations today as he addresses AIPAC. Perhaps someone in the audience will ask Obama why he allowed a pair of grants totaling $75,000 to go to the Arab-American Action Network, a group that calls the establishment of Israel as a "catastrophe," while director of the ultra-liberal Woods Fund.

Barack Obama supports Israel the way R. Kelly supports Girl Scouts. It's time someone calls him on it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2008

Yon: War Could be Over By Year's End

A stunning prediction from Michael Yon:

One of the biggest problems with the Iraq War is that politics has frequently triumphed over truth. For instance, we went into Iraq with shoddy intelligence (at best), no reconstruction plan, and perhaps half as many troops as were required. We refused to admit that an insurgency was growing, until the country collapsed into anarchy and civil war. Now the truth is that Iraq is showing real progress on many fronts: Al Qaeda is being defeated and violence is down and continuing to decrease. As a result, the militias have lost their reason for existence and are getting beaten back or co-opted. Shia, Sunni and Kurds are coming together -- although with various stresses -- under the national government. If progress continues at this rate, it is very possible that before 2008 is out, we can finally say "the war has ended."

This comes as part of Yon's offer to tour Iraq with U.S. Senators—including the Presidential candidates—so that they can make informed decisions regarding the progress of the conflict.

If Yon is accurate, then Democrats (including Barack Obama) who continue to insist that the war is lost are going to lose all of their credibility in coming months. They will of course try to pivot, and make up some excuse to take credit for the success of operations in Iraq if such a situation develops.

History will not remember pro-defeat politicians or activists kindly.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:09 PM | Comments (10)

May 29, 2008

Marine Removed From Duty For Proselytizing in Fallujah

From Multi-National Force – West PAO, via email:

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq – A Coalition force service member was removed from his duties today amid concerns from Fallujah's citizens regarding reports of inappropriate conduct.

Multi-National Force - West initiated an investigation into reports that a coin with a Bible verse written in Arabic was distributed to Iraqi citizens as they passed through a Fallujah entry control point. If the allegation is substantiated, appropriate action will be taken.

"Regulations prohibit members of the coalition force from proselytizing any religion, faith or practices," said Col. Bill Buckner, MNC-I spokesman, "and our troops are trained on those guidelines before they deploy."

"This has our full attention," said Col. James L. Welsh, chief of staff, Multi-National Force - West. "We deeply value our relationship with the local citizens and share their concerns over this serious incident."

This was reported earlier today by McClatchy, but quite frankly, when a news organization runs items under the tagline "truth to power," by an author also published by al Jazeera, I like to get confirmation first. I've got a request in for more details on this, and will update again if they have additional information.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:49 PM | Comments (3)

Pelosi: Surge Failed, Iran Rules Iraq

The special kind of delusion it takes to believe that Iraq was irretrievably lost in 2006 is still alive and well and in positions of leadership in the Democratic Party.

Speaking with the San Francisco Chronicle, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi insisted that the surge failed, and insists that if there is any progress, it is because Iran allowed it.

Well, the purpose of the surge was to provide a secure space, a time for the political change to occur to accomplish the reconciliation. That didn't happen. Whatever the military success, and progress that may have been made, the surge didn't accomplish its goal. And some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians-they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities-the Iranians.

Cue the flaming skull.

Pelosi's needful delusions means that dictator-loving, Jew-hating 9/11 conspiracy-theorist Cindy Sheehan is not the most insane candidate vying for California's Eight District House seat.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:07 PM | Comments (11)

Moon: Operative Word in Iraq is "Hope." Obama: Let's Change That.

Despite their best intentions and willing accomplices in some press outlets, Democrats have apparently been unable to convince the international community that time stopped in Iraq in 2006.

"Notable progress" has been made in Iraq despite persistent problems, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday at an international summit to promote peace in the violence-wracked country.

"If we were asked to use just one word to describe the situation in Iraq today, I would choose the word 'hope,'" Ban said at the Stockholm, Sweden, conference. "Iraq is stepping back from the abyss that we feared most."

Barack Obama, of course, refuses to see any signs of progress in Iraq as a matter of policy and self-interest. His campaign is wedded to the leftmost fringe of the Democratic Party, who insist that failure is the only acceptable opinion in Iraq. The freshman senator from Illinois still publicly advocates headlong retreat from Iraq within 16 months of taking office if elected, and will not be swayed by stark warnings from international experts and regional governments that such a retreat would reverse all the gains paid for by coalition casualties, and perhaps trigger events as severe as a regional war that would impact energy markets and economies globally.

Right now, the greatest threat to Iraq's future isn't Iran, militants, or sectarian divides, but an inexperienced defeatist from Chicago.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:28 AM | Comments (2)

May 28, 2008

Just the Facts, Sam

Would someone please provide ABC News' Sam Donaldson with some facts?

It is perhaps progress in this commentary piece for a journalist to admit that Obama needs schooling— I do find it amusing that he refers to McCain as "the professor" and Obama as "his callow student"—but he grossly overestimates the size of al Sadr's faltering organization by an enormous amount, while downplaying Madhi Army defeats at the hands of the Iraqi security forces in recent weeks.

Iraq will almost certainly be one of the central issues in November -- if McCain is lucky it will remain relatively calm with casualties relatively low. But there is a wildcard named Moqtada al-Sadr, the 34-year-old Shiite leader of a 2 million man army.

When the surge began, al-Sadr instructed his army to lie low. Why fight an increased American force? But we all saw what happened a few weeks ago when al-Sadr loosed his men in Bashra and Bagdad -- violence flared, casualties spiked -- before calling another truce.

I'd like for Mr. Donaldson to explain where he got a figure of 2 million for the collection of neighborhood militias, street gangs, and "special groups" that make up the JAM (Jaish al Mahdi). Most estimates of the group have not put numbers larger than roughly 60,000 strong at any point in the conflict, and present numbers are said to be in rapid decline even now because of their growing unpopularity among Iraqi Shia.

I'd also like Donaldson to justify his dishonest portrayal of events in Basra and Baghdad. In both cities the Madhi Army suffered horrific losses at the hands of Iraqi security forces before suing for peace out of a sense of self preservation, and in both cities, Iraqi soldiers and police continued to relentlessly push into neighborhoods formerly dominated by Madhi Army thugs event after these "treaties" were agreed upon. In Basra, Iraqi government forces now rule virtually uncontested as they continue to carry out targeted strikes against wanted members of the Madhi Army. GoI security forces entered Sadr City with an unexpectedly large number of soldiers equipped with heavy armor, surprising the militiamen, who have yet to formulate a response.

Donaldson is obviously as much an Obama cheerleader as he is a journalist, but his 37-years in the business don't give him the right to make up his own reality.

Stick the facts, Sam. One Dan Rather at a time is enough.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:19 PM | Comments (6)

Always Back a Winner

Iraqi soldiers carry M-16s as they stand guard in Sadr City. AFP Photo by Ali Yussef

If the Iraq War is "lost" as journalists, politicians, and other Democrats continue to shrilly insist, then why is the Iraqi military choosing American weapons?

It isn't because American M16s are better than AK-47s for the needs of the Iraqi military (they aren't), but because Iraqis are impressed by American soldiers and want to emulate them.

Do you think they would be so eager to adapt our gear if we were losing?

Me neither.


Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:40 AM | Comments (16)

May 23, 2008

Hairballs and Hellfires

In what I think is a fairly well-balanced article about the significant increase in the use of U.S. Hellfire missiles during the recent campaign against Shiite militiamen in Baghdad's Sadr City came this utterly bizarre claim:

One of Zahara's uncles, Dhia Rahi Shaie al-Koreishi, 34, a taxi driver, and her grandmother, Um Fadhil al-Koreishi, were killed by the blast.

"The heart of this family has been ripped out," said Alaa Rahi Shaie, 29, another uncle, who was stoic in describing the death of his brother. "This is his blood," he said, indicating red splotches in front of his home. "And the remains of his head are over there."

He pointed at a large mound of dirt. A group of young boys dug out the remains and then showed visitors a black bag filled with clumps of hair and scalp.

Family members and neighbors said they didn't see anyone in the area fire rockets. Two black funeral banners hung outside the battered home to honor the dead.

I'm sure some of my readers are more familiar with Muslim burial rites than I (just about anyone would be), but I've always been under the impression that Muslims were very careful to respect the dead and bury them as intact as possible shortly after their demise. Banners honoring the dead are nice. Not treating their remains like kabob scraps is nicer.

Does the claim here of the remains of Dhia Rahi Shaie al-Koreishi's head being unceremoniously dumped in a sack and buried by the family in a dirt pile where children perform ad-hoc exhumations strike anyone else as being odd, even for what we've heard of Iraq?

As for the apparent premise of the article that AGM-114M Hellfire II missiles take an inordinate number of civilian lives... well, I'm not sure what to tell you.

Hellfires are preferred for being one of the most accurate missiles currently deployed, and it has the added benefit of having a smallish explosive warhead, making it somewhat less dangerous than some other weapons systems that we could deploy.

The Post does not make any attempt to distinguish how many of the 251 Iraqis killed by Hellfire missiles were Shiite militiamen, Iranian-trained " Special Groups" operatives, and how many were real non-combatant civilians.

While the Post article was less than clear on this point, it seemed possible that Uncle brains-in-a-bag could have been one of the two men loading rockets into a vehicle who were watched for hours before being killed, and grandma might have simply had the misfortune of having her son followed home by a missile. Or they could have been innocent bystanders... we simply don't know.

We do know that the video accompanying the article shows several strikes on obviously armed fighters (including a large group caught red-handed firing rockets), with no obvious civilians nearby. Still, in urban combat civilians will always run the risk of being casualties, and we are making attempts to minimize that possibility now through tactical decisions made, and in the future via new weapons systems. The 5.3 lbs Spike missile, at just over two-feet long will hopefully provide just as much precision with less collateral fragmentation than the Hellfire in future urban conflicts.

Even then, the best advice for civilian in urban conflict areas is simple: don't stand to close militiamen and terrorists.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:03 PM | Comments (7)

May 22, 2008

Welcome to the Show!

Yochi J. Dreazen posts an article titled U.S. Delays Report on Iran Arms in the Wall Street Journal, May 21:

The U.S. military, in a shift, has postponed the release of a report detailing allegations of Iranian support for Iraqi insurgents, according to people familiar with the matter.

The military had initially planned to publicize the report several weeks ago but instead turned the dossier over to the Iraqi government, these people said. The Iraqis are using the information to pressure Tehran to curb the flow of Iranian weaponry and explosives into Iraq, these people said.

Me, writing here at Confederate Yankee on May 8 in a post titled Why You Won't See the Iranian Weapons We've Captured in Iraq:

...hopes of a diplomatic solution between Iran and Iraq have forestalled the U.S. military press conference displaying captured weaponry first expected in Baghdad over a week ago.

The press conference was delayed in hopes that an Iraqi delegation to Tehran bearing evidence of Iranian weapons captured by U.S. and Iraqi forces in recent fighting could resolve the issue as a matter between the two neighboring states.

Unsurprisingly, Iran has disputed the evidence, and as a result, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has ordered a special committee to compile evidence captured by both American and Iraqi forces. Once the evidence is compiled, it is hoped that this would help inform the committee in putting forth a coherent Iraqi policy on Iranian involvement in smuggling weapons into Iraq. That policy will be presented to the Iranian government in hopes of stopping Iranian smuggling of weapons and preclude a conflict between the two nations, according to U.S. military sources. Iran and Iraq fought a war from 1980-88 that claimed approximately one million lives when Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq, and the political goals of neither Shia-dominated government would be well-served by a return to conflict.

Perhaps by June, the media will also come to my conclusion on what this means to Iranq/Iran relations, as well.

It is getting harder and harder for the media to keep up with the turn of events in Iraq. Many had been wedded to the "quagmire" theory of assumed stasis leading to assured defeat and withdrawal, a theory still coveted by most senior Democrats and the online activist left. They bitterly cling to this theory because of the amount of political capital they have invested in it, even though that theory is being directly countered by evidence mounting at a blistering pace.

Iraq is not free from terror or outside influence and will not be for years to come, but the facts are that the insurgent groups, terrorist organizations, and rogue militias in Iraq are collapsing before the onslaught of increasingly fierce and competent Iraqi security forces, civilian-provided intelligence, and gutsy civilian leadership, backed by U.S. forces. We'll leave it for the historians to decide at which point the corner was turned and victory was assured, but some things are certain.

Anyone still attempting to claim that coalition and Iraqi forces are fighting in a lost cause or a endless quagmire as of mid-May, 2008, is doing so in direct opposition to the facts on the ground.

Your only response should be wondering what they are trying to sell you, and why.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:54 AM | Comments (9)

May 20, 2008

Bush to Attack Iran Before Leaving Office

So says the Jerusalem Post, citing Army Radio, citing an anonymous Israeli government official, citing someone he says is "a senior member of the president's entourage."

Why, it's just like hearing it from Bush directly!

Responsible journalists don't run stories this poorly sourced as a rule, but exceptions are almost always made when the stories are sensational enough, and the story is something that journalists, editors, and many readers want to believe. That is why variations of this story of an impending attack on Iran have been recurring for the past couple of years, and no doubt will continue until President Bush leaves 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, at which point the same rumors will be passed down to (hopefully) President McCain.

The story repeats because elements of it ring true enough for those convinced that a military strike against against the world's foremost sponsor of terrorism and arms used to kill American soldiers since 1983 is an act of a fascist dictatorship, and also for those that have the good sense to recognize that reducing the capabilities of a rogue nuclear and asymmetrical warfare threat promising genocide as a matter of state policy is a common sense act of survival for the greater good of man.

It is quite possible that certain events before January of 2009 could trigger preemptive strikes upon Iran by the present Administration, Israel, or perhaps even both nations acting in concert. I rather doubt such rumor-mongering helps anyone, however, beyond creating full employment in Palestinian phone banks calling on behalf of the pacifist candidate Obama.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:28 AM | Comments (7)

May 16, 2008

Totten On Yon

I don't think they could possibly find someone more qualified to review Michael Yon's Moment of Truth in Iraq than Michael Totten, another independent journalist who has spent and extensive amount of time in the Middle East, including Iraq.

Moment of Truth in Iraq

Read Totten's review The Real Iraq, and if you haven't yet read Yon's book, or would like to donate copies to your local library so that other people can, click the image above to order from Amazon.com.

I'd note that both Yon and Totten are independent journalists, and traveling to and through combat zones to bring you stories the media won't tell is both expensive and dangerous, so please consider contributing at their sites, Michael Totten, and Michael Yon.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:18 AM | Comments (1)

May 14, 2008

The Bloodless Bullets of Baghdad

I suspect that this is less a case of "fauxtography" than a curious physiological response, but Associated Press cameraman Karim Kadim captured this photo of a Sadr City woman having a bullet removed from her forearm.

Here is an enlarged and cropped version of the photo as tweaked in PhotoShop to focus on the wound. I got as close as I could without distorting the image significantly.

As you can see, the bullet is being pulled nose first, suggesting that it penetrated though the outside of the woman's arm and passed through the interosseous membrane between the ulna and radius to stop at some point on the inside part of her forearm.

All combat rifle cartridges commonly used should have fully penetrated this woman's arm completely with a significant (and ghastly) exit wound if not impeded by either hitting a barrier of some sort, or coming from an extreme distance away. I'd love to see a higher resolution version of this photo to see if we could determine what kind of rifle cartridge this was.

Whatever the bullet is, I'm pretty sure it isn't one of these.

5/20 Update: After speaking with Associated Press resources in New York, trauma surgeons, and other resources in Iraq, this photo is confirmed as the extraction of a bullet that hit the woman in the photo after being fired from a considerable distance, and after the bullet had expended much of its energy. Additional still footage is said to exist showing the entry wound, and there is also said to be videotape of the extraction.

This was not a staged photo, just a strange physiological response to an uncommon wound.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:43 AM | Comments (14)

Hussayn's Story

Despite feigned ignorance of the facts, the media knows that Muqtada's militias are being crushed, that al-Masri's terrorists are being picked off, and Iraqi's of all sects, Sunni Shia and Kurd, have newfound trust in a newly-muscular Iraqi government and military.

Iraq's want peace, are are willing to destroy the belligerents among themselves if it leads to a prosperous future. Here is one Iraqi's story.

More, please.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:46 AM | Comments (2)

Gripes of Wrath

Liberal bloggers and journalists put their inability to focus on substantive issues on display yesterday along with a blind hatred for President Bush, thanks to a catalytic interview yesterday by Mike Allen of The Politico and Yahoo News.

The interview was entitled "Bush warns of Iraq disaster," and in it, President Bush warned of the regional consequences of the kind of a premature, headlong retreat from Iraq. Such a retreat is favored by Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama, who has pledged to withdraw American forces in 16 months.

Such a withdrawal window is not logistically feasible without abandoning costly American military equipment and supplies, and the cost of destabilizing Iraq's security is feared as a threat by every country in the region, and cannot be overemphasized.

Iraqis fear a return to sectarian conflict that may rapidly escalate into the genocide of hundred of thousands and the displacement of millions if their nation collapses due to a too-quick, timetable-based American withdrawal such as the one Obama has repeatedly promised.

Turkey fears an attempt by Iraqi Kurds to form their own country in the wake of a U.S. retreat, and would invade northern Iraq (they are already making multi-day raids, along with air and artillery strikes). Jordan, saturated with refugees only just returning to Iraq in past months due to the success of the surge, would face a new flood of Iraq refugees that would threaten the nation's economy and national security. Syria would face similar mass immigration problems, compounded by possible Turkish incursions to root out Kurdish rebels in northeastern Syria.

Saudi Arabia and Iran, already sharing sharp words over Hezbollah's actions in Lebanon, will engage in a proxy war in Iraq that many expect may erupt into an open regional war.

Such a conflict would shut down Persian Gulf shipping and drive the price of oil astronomically high (how would you like $10/gallon gasoline, or higher?), impacting financial markets worldwide, negatively impacting billions of people, with those in developing nations hardest hit.

In short, the headlong retreat promised by Barack Obama will plunge the Middle East into conflict and wreck economies worldwide, including our own. It would be, in every sense, the disaster President Bush mention in his interview.

How did liberal members of the media and bloggers react to the interview? They ignored a direct policy conflict of global importance between a sitting U.S. President and his would-be successor, in order to write grade school-level snark.

I expect very little from the media. I see they delivered.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:39 AM | Comments (45)

May 12, 2008

Corners Turned

Moqtada al-Sadr, the figurehead leader of the Mahdi Army that fled to Tehran long ago, has lost Basra. It must have been heartbreaking for the New York Times to make the admission that the Iraqi Army and Police had pounded Iranian-back Shia militias and criminal gangs into submission, but give them credit; they did report it.

Iraqi and American forces continue to pound gangs and Iranian-trained and equipped "Special Groups" in the massive Baghdad slum called Sadr City. Fighting continues despite al-Sadr's impotent call for a truce, and an "anaconda strategy" of squeezing out combatants while choking off of their resupply lines continued, as a wall slicing off the southern end of the slum reached 80% completion.

In Mosul, an Iraqi-led, American-backed assault on Mosul, al Qaeda's last urban stronghold in Iraq, has begun, targeting the last significant bastions of al Qaeda and aligned insurgents in Iraq after the success of the "surge" in the Baghdad region and the Sunni civilian uprising against al Qaeda in Al Anbar over the past year.

The war in Iraq is not over, but no serious person can argue that Iraqi government forces and the coalition military forces backing them are not now dictating the terms and tempo of the conflict in Iraq. They and are imposing their will with considerable success upon areas deemed as unapproachable and lost as recently as weeks and months ago, and have won the support of the overwhelming majority of an Iraqi people tired of war and extremist ideologies.

And yet...

We still have an entire political party predicating their future success on a U.S. and Iraqi government defeat in Iraq. They abhor American soldiers with a spittle-flecked passion, find them to be thugs and criminals of the highest order, and deep down in their heart of hearts, think that American solders would torture innocent civilians and kill merely for sport, if only the watchful eyes of the media were no there to keep them in check.

They view a certain rising American politician as their only salvation in a regional conflict that vexes their very souls. They see his promises of "hope" and "change" and unconditional dialog with Nasrallah or Ahmadinejad and other regional leaders as a gateway to the kind of world they want to live in. They fear John McCain will prove to be a second George Bush.

But enough about the Iranian mullacracy.

I'm just glad we don't have Americans that act this way.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:37 AM | Comments (9)

May 09, 2008

As If There Was Ever Any Doubt...

...that anti-war protesters targeting a Marine recruiting station in Berkley California are losers.

Members of the women's group began bringing placards and pink banners to the center Friday, where they are expected to rally later in the morning, armed with spells and pointy hats for a "Witches, clowns and sirens day."

"Women are coming to cast spells and do rituals and to impart wisdom to figure out how we're going to end war," Zanne Sam Joi of Bay Area Code Pink told FOXNews.com.

The group's Mother's Day week of themed protests, which included days to galvanize grannies and bring-your-daughter-to-protest, appears to have done little to boost its flagging numbers.

All those drugs taken in '68 really had an effect, didn't they?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:33 AM | Comments (4)

May 08, 2008

Why You Won't See the Iranian Weapons We've Captured in Iraq

Starting over a year ago with the discovery of a new kind of roadside bomb—EFPs or explosively-formed projectiles—American commanders in Iraq began believing that Iran was supplying weapons to militants in Iraq. That belief grew as more munitions were captured, including 34 unfired rockets captured on July 12, 2007 that were said to be of Iranian origin.

In recent weeks American forces have claimed to have captured even more Iranian weapons, including those that were new, apparently manufactured in 2008. In addition, Iraqi government forces are said to have captured a significant number of weapons of suspected Iranian manufacture during military options in and around Basra over the past month. On top of the weaponry captured, recently-released information claims that Shiite militiamen were trained by Hezbollah in Iranian terrorist camps near Tehran, and that some of those militants have been captured, and have resided in U.S. military custody for several months providing valuable intelligence.

But if solid physical evidence of Iranian military interference has been captured, then why hasn't that evidence been presented to independent experts for verification? Why hasn't that material been presented to a skeptical world media, still unwilling to believe governmental claims at face value after Saddam Hussein's WMDs turned out to be ghosts?

The answer is both simple and pragmatic: hopes of a diplomatic solution between Iran and Iraq have forestalled the U.S. military press conference displaying captured weaponry first expected in Baghdad over a week ago.

The press conference was delayed in hopes that an Iraqi delegation to Tehran bearing evidence of Iranian weapons captured by U.S. and Iraqi forces in recent fighting could resolve the issue as a matter between the two neighboring states.

Unsurprisingly, Iran has disputed the evidence, and as a result, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has ordered a special committee to compile evidence captured by both American and Iraqi forces. Once the evidence is compiled, it is hoped that this would help inform the committee in putting forth a coherent Iraqi policy on Iranian involvement in smuggling weapons into Iraq. That policy will be presented to the Iranian government in hopes of stopping Iranian smuggling of weapons and preclude a conflict between the two nations, according to U.S. military sources. Iran and Iraq fought a war from 1980-88 that claimed approximately one million lives when Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq, and the political goals of neither Shia-dominated government would be well-served by a return to conflict.

Iraqi foreign minister Hoshiyar Zebari is urging Iran and the United States to rejoin stalled security talks after U.S. officials described negotiating with Iran "meaningless" without Iran stopping military interference in Iraq, and Tehran accusing the U.S. of "massacring" Iraqis as operations in Baghdad's Sadr City against Shia militias continue. The resumation of talks is presently deemed unlikely, but if the Iraqi committee completes its mission and determines that Iran has in fact been supplying training and weaponry to Shia militias presently fighting against the Iraqi military forces, the Iraqis will have a diplomatic weapon to use against Tehran that may force the Iranian government to stop its suspected supply of weaponry into Iraq, and it's training of Shia militiamen by Hezbollah terrorists and Iran's military.

The diplomatic pressure the Iraqi commission could bring to bear with it's findings could deepen divides in Iran's government between moderates and hardliners. Moderate former President Mohammad Khatami has recently made statements that some are interpreting as an admission that the current hardline regime as supplying weaponry and training to militants in Iraq and elsewhere.

Iran's weapons may be taking the lives of American and Iraqi troops in Iraq right now, but with the Iraqi government's creation of a committee to build an official Iraqi policy position on Iran's interference, Iran's weapons may turn out to be a greater diplomatic weapon for Iraq.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:13 PM | Comments (30)

April 25, 2008

New Iranian Weapons Captured in Iraq


Iranian 107mm rockets recovered after attack on U.S. FOB Hammer in Iraq, July 2007

Playing a very dangerous game:

The U.S. military says it has found caches of newly made Iranian weapons in Iraq, leading senior officials to conclude Tehran is continuing to funnel armaments into Iraq despite its pledges to the contrary.

Officials in Washington and Baghdad said the purported Iranian mortars, rockets and explosives had date stamps indicating they were manufactured in the past two months. The U.S. plans to publicize the weapons caches in coming days. A pair of senior commanders said a presentation was tentatively planned for Monday.

The allegations, which couldn't be independently verified, mark a further hardening of U.S. rhetoric on Iran, which senior American officials now describe as the greatest long-term threat to Iraq.

This month, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Iranian support for Shiite extremist groups had grown. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said for the first time that he believed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad knew about the shipments.

Iran has long denied that its government knowingly funneled weapons into Iraq or trained Shiite militants there. It has derided the U.S. claims as propaganda. Several senior U.S. military officials said the weapons caches would undercut the Iranian denials and provide new evidence of continuing Iranian support for Shiite militants across Iraq.

"You can see the manufacturing dates right on the armaments themselves," one senior commander in Baghdad said. "These are very clearly weapons that were made in the last month or so."

Markings, of course, are easy to fake, and the truther fringe of the "Bush lied, people died!" sect are sure to accuse the Administration and/or elements of the military with doing just that. Much harder to fake, however, are the materials used, certain tool marks, and other mechanical and electrical components. Taken together, the component pieces form a unique signature that EOD experts can read like a fingerprint. As far as our military is concerned, the markings only serve to confirm what explosive experts could already tell from even unmarked weapons.

This is a stupid mistake by Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime, coming at a time when Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is celebrating stunning military successes in Basra and other parts of the Shia south against Iranian-backed "special groups" within Muqtada al-Sadr's Madhi Army militia. The recovery of this cache can only help Iraq's central government grow even more cohesive, upsetting hopes for a failed Iraqi state and U.S. defeat.

Iran's foreign policy is turning out to have been very poorly calculated as of late. One can only wonder what their next gaffe will be, and what affect it may have on the hardline regime in Tehran.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:06 AM | Comments (70)

April 22, 2008

How Many Military Suicides?

The San Francisco Chronicle posts this without question:

More than 120 veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq commit suicide every week while the government stalls in granting returning troops the mental health treatment and benefits to which they are entitled, veterans advocates told a federal judge Monday in San Francisco.

The rights of hundreds of thousands of veterans are being violated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, "an agency that is in denial," and by a government health care system and appeals process for patients that is "broken down," Gordon Erspamer, lawyer for two advocacy groups, said in an opening statement at the trial of a nationwide lawsuit.

He said veterans are committing suicide at the rate of 18 a day - a number acknowledged by a VA official in a Dec. 15 e-mail - and the agency's backlog of disability claims now exceeds 650,000, an increase of 200,000 since the Iraq war started in 2003.

We're looking at the conflation of multiple claims here, so lets take them one at a time:

More than 120 veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq commit suicide every week while the government stalls in granting returning troops the mental health treatment and benefits to which they are entitled, veterans advocates told a federal judge Monday in San Francisco.

There is no way to get a constant figure of X per week, but if they are presuming that 120/week figure from the beginning of the Iraq War on March 20, 2003, we're talking 1860 days (not including today), rounding down to 265 weeks * 120 suicides/week = 31,800 suicides of Iraq and Afghan War veterans.

If we instead presume they arrived at 120/week starting with the October 7, 2001 war with Afghanistan, we're looking at 2389 days (not including today), rounding down to 341 weeks * 120 suicides/week = 41,920 suicides of Iraq and Afghan War veterans.

Are they trying to tell us between 31,000-41,000 modern war veterans have committed suicide, and we're just now starting to notice, five years later?

* * *

The 18/suicides a day figure seems to quietly leave out which wars are covered, and could be construed to assume the aging veterans of WWII, Korean, Vietnam, and other campaigns as well as Iraq and Afghanistan. It would seem prudent to assume that many of these may be due to issues perhaps unrelated to PTSD caused a half-century or more before in many instances.

If they do mean all veterans, regardless of war, but measure from the start of the Afghan war at a rate of 18 suicides a day, we wind up with 43,002 suicides for all veterans of all wars during this time period. If we instead use the 18 suicides/day figure from the beginning of the Iraq War, we wind up with 33,480 suicides for all veterans of all wars during this time period.

Are they trying to tell us between 33,000-43,000 U.S. military war veterans have committed suicide in the past 5-8 years, and we're just now starting to notice?

According to the math cited here, the VA may be shorting veterans on care, but they excel at hidden burials.

We are not treating out veterans with nearly the care and respect for their service as we should, but I'd be shocked if we were losing as many as these figures suggest.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:16 PM | Comments (19)

April 14, 2008

Yon: Moment of Truth

Was a busy weekend and I didn't get a chance to get into my copy of Michael Yon's Moment of Truth in Iraq beyond skimming a few pages, though I'm going to try to carve time out of my schedule to read it tonight. If it is anything like his dispatches, I'll probably devour it in one extended sitting.

Moment of Truth in Iraq

It is already up to #68 on Amazon's bestseller list and Glenn Reynolds notes that is #1 in military books (and that it is excellent. He also notes that Mike has a page dedicated to help promoting the book so it gets in your local bookstores and libraries, and I'd simply note that if you really want the local library to stock it so that others might read a perspective of the war they might not get anywhere else, you can always buy multiple copies of Moment of Truth in Iraq and donate them directly to the library yourself.

As you already know by now, Mike is supported by his readers and his readers alone, so by purchasing his book, you're supporting his work.

Besides... wouldn't it send a message to Congress if we could make a book promoting the efforts of the Next Greatest Generation the #1 book in America?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:34 AM | Comments (1)

April 11, 2008

In the Mail...

My friend Iraq War combat journalist Michael Yon just published his newest book, Moment of Truth in Iraq: How a New 'Greatest Generation' of American Soldiers is Turning Defeat and Disaster into Victory and Hope.

He sent me a copy, which was waiting for me when I got home last night. I'm going to try to carve some time out in my schedule to read it at some point this weekend or early next week and read it so I can give you a review.

Mike has spent more time embedded with soldiers in Iraq than any other journalist period, and therefore has a very good idea of what is actually happening in Iraq, something that rational people should consider when they read this article from him in today's Wall Street Journal.


Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:58 AM | Comments (7)

April 08, 2008

Biden PWN3D Crocker! ...In the Community-Based Reality

For reasons rational people will never fathom, lefty bloggers and blog readers are filled with glee over, well, this:

There was once a blog called Joe Biden Is Thugged Out. (I swear this is true.) Biden just proved why. He asked Ryan Crocker, who used to be ambassador to Pakistan, whether it would be better for U.S. interests to go after Al Qaeda on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border or Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Crocker, in an impossible political position -- give the correct answer and humiliate the Bush administration; give the administration's answer and look like a fool -- dodged as much as he could. Then Biden forced him down. Crocker: "I would therefore pick Al Qaeda on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border."

Biden "forced him down" how, exactly?

Clearly Ackerman, the flickering bulbs at Think Progress and other gloating liberals didn't actually hear how Crocker responded.

Let's go to the videotape:

BIDEN: Mr. Ambassador, is Al Qaeda a greater threat to US interests in Iraq, or in the Afghan-Pakistan border region?

CROCKER: Mr. Chairman, al Qaeda is a strategic threat to the United States wherever it is--

BIDEN: Where is most of it? If you could take it out, you had a choice, the Lord Almighty came down and sat in the middle of the table there, and said, 'Mr. Ambassador, you can eliminate every al Qaeda source in Afghanistan and Pakistan, or every al Qaeda personnel in Iraq, which would you pick?'

CROCKER: Well, given the progress that has been made against al Qaeda in Iraq, the significant decrease in its capabilities, the fact that it is solidly on the defensive and not in a position as far--

BIDEN: Which would you pick?

CROCKER: I would therefore pick Al Qaeda in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area.

So despite the cleverly truncated quote at Think Progress (seriously, when are lefty bloggers going to tire of being set up and used as fools by these shills?) and Ackerman's own deceptive forgetfulness, what Crocker actually told Biden is that our military had severely damaged the operational capabilities of al Qaeda in Iraq (by 75-percent in the last year alone, according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry) and knocked it into a defensive posture where it is far less of a threat.

How much less of a threat?

According to StrategyPage.com, Osama bin Laden admitted defeat in Iraq on Oct 22, 2007, a sentiment that Marine Colonel Richard Simcock shared contemporaneously as it related to al Qaeda's former strongholds in al Anbar in specific. Battered, tattered, and lethally-harassed by coalition soldiers at night and former Sunni Iraqi allies during the day, al Qaeda's morale in Iraq is crushed, along with most of it's capabilities.

Thanks to Iraqi and coalition efforts, Al Qaeda in Iraq is beaten, fragmented, and on the verge of a final collapse, according to the terror organization itself. With this enemy almost defeated, it is only common sense that Crocker would select the remaining al Qaeda hiding along the Afghan-Pakistani border as being the greater threat.

I guess Ackerman can pretend that Crocker's quite logical response--to advocate the targeting the terrorists that are still alive, instead of those we have already dispatched--is humiliating to the Bush administration, but outside his insular nutroots community, in a land where common sense prevails and truncated quotes are not swallowed at face value time and again, Crocker got the better of this exchange by merely pointing out that we've run out of al Qaeda in Iraq to kill.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:44 PM | Comments (19)

As Sadr Collapses...

It becomes increasingly more amusing to watch the "impartial" international news media attempt to spin away unmistakable signs of progress in Iraq. The latest example of this sad phenomena is Reuters' account of Muqtada al Sadr's threat to end a ceasefire:

Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr threatened on Tuesday to end a truce he imposed on his militia last year, raising the prospect of worsening violence just as top U.S. officials prepare to testify on Iraq in Washington.

Sadr urged his Mehdi Army to "continue your jihad and resistance" against U.S. forces, although he did not spell out if this was an explicit call for attacks on American soldiers.

His warning came a day after Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki threatened to bar Sadr's movement from political life if the anti-American cleric did not disband his militia.

Despite the more than 7-month-old ceasefire, Sadr's followers have clashed with Iraqi troops and U.S. forces in the south of the country and Baghdad in the past two weeks in the country's worst violence since the first half of 2007.

al Sadr's Madhi Army suffered hundreds of KIAs—some estimate place as a high as 1%-2% of his entire militia—in operations across southern Iraq in recent weeks. The failure of the militia and the success of Iraqi forces has encouraged top Sunni, Shia and Kurdish members of the Iraqi government to form a unified front that has demanded that al Sadr disband the Madhi Army, or run the risk of having his party being disbarred from Iraqi politics.

Sadr's threat to end the truce is the most desperate political option available to him, and one of the few options he has left. His power has been drawn largely from the threat of withdrawing the ceasefire, but if that ceasefire is withdrawn, al Sadr has few more cards to play, and the resulting combat would likely mirror last recent combat on a much larger scale, perhaps resulting in far more physical destruction to his forces.

Sadr did not win in Basra, and runs the risk of having his militia destroyed if he decides to send it into combat again against an Iraqi Army that is far more competent than al Sadr's militiamen.

Muqtada al Sadr's relevance in Iraq will be determined by the choices he makes in coming days. The only real real question is how much his relevance will be diminished.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:07 AM | Comments (5)

April 04, 2008

Rep. McHenry Calls Green Zone Security Guard "Two-bit"

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) has referred to a "two-bit security guard" in the Green Zone in Baghdad who would not let him into the gym without having the proper ID.

What a jerk.

His political opponent Lance Sigmon is capitalizing on the statement, as he should, but I think those who are claiming that McHenry belittled a soldier are probably not accurate, or are at least jumping the gun.

The Green Zone certainly has American personnel, but many are Iraqis or foreign security personnel.

Somehow, I don't think the liberals at Think Progress who have built a reputation lately of getting the facts wrong would care nearly as much if McHenry had uttered his comments to a security guard contracted through Blackwater, even though they face many of the same risks.

Update: Yep, Amanda at Think Progress screwed up again. The guard in question was not a soldier, but instead was what liberals like to refer to as a "hired killer," or as the rest of us call them, a security contractor.

Amanda either needs a break, a new fact-checker, or a new career.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:59 PM | Comments (12)

April 02, 2008

Chinese Provide IAEA With Info on Iranian Nukes

No detail at all in the report, but I think it logical to assume that if the news was that "there's nothing going on," then China would not have bothered to contact the IAEA. The assumption must be that Iran is progressing with their nuclear weapons program, and that China is growing uncomfortable with that progress.

It will be interesting to see what slips out about the details of the Iranian program provided by China to the IAEA. Have the Chinese now determined that Iran has become a threat to their national security as well?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:46 AM | Comments (4)

March 29, 2008

Yon on the War

Michael Yon is in Mosul, where we thought the bulk of the fighting in Iraq would be over coming weeks as Iraqi Army units supported by American forces are preparing to route out the last of al Qaeda's significant urban presence.

I shot him an email yesterday to see what he may have heard, and he got back to me this briefly this morning to point me to telephone call he recorded with Glenn Reynolds. You can hear it here.

He's also got a new book coming coming out, and you can follow the links to pre-order it at the link above.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:09 AM | Comments (1)

March 27, 2008

Great Moments in Military Procurement History. Or Not.

I have a pistol made in 1927, and have owned battle rifles and carbines made from 1945 to the Vietnam War-era. In these firearms I've more often fired modern ammunition of recent commercial manufacture, but I've also used surplus military ammunition, decades old. For many collectors of military firearms, shooting aging surplus ammunition is a commonplace proposition, and the results are generally acceptable.

There are however, several wars on, and civilian shooters in the United States are having to compete with government contractors who scrounge up that foreign surplus ammunition in large quantities to provide to U.S. allies under contract. The result is higher prices for quality surplus ammunition, or in some instances, little serviceable ammunition at any price.

The New York Times, God bless them, actually broke an interesting story today about one of those ammunition contractors, a 22-year-old Miami man who now seems to be in a great deal of trouble for selling Chinese ammunition he scrounged up on the world market and repackaged, which is a violation of federal law and his contract.

The relevant parts of this story are how the man in question, Efraim Diveroli, slipped through the cracks of the procurement system to become a supplier, and how some scrap-worthy ammunition was shipped to our allies. I'm sure as details of that SNAFU become available, they'll work to make sure that similar unvetted characters responding to vague RFPs can't game the system again.

I would take minor issue with the Times and other news outlets, however, for suggesting that older ammunition is inherently flawed or obsolete ammunition.

Ammunition can degrade over time based upon the chemical compounds used in its construction and the environmental variables under which it is stored. Ammunition manufactured to high standards and stored in specific, controlled conditions, however, can last almost indefinitely. Ammunition manufactured in the 1960s and properly stored can certainly still be viable and reliable, while ammunition created last week using substandard components may be scrap before it leaves the assembly line.

The author of the NY Times piece who broke the story, C.J. Chivers, deserves respect for some excellent investigative journalism.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:26 PM | Comments (15)

March 26, 2008

Misreporting the Second Recent Iraqi Offensive

One of the wonderful things about modern communications technologies is that just about anyone can comment about popular culture and breaking news events as they happen. The downside? Just about anyone can comment about popular culture and breaking news event as they happen, and some of them work for news agencies.

The best examples of why this isn't always a good idea are the short-sighted, knee-jerk reactions of some journalists and pundits to the recent crackdown by the Iraqi central government on rogue Shiite militias and criminal gangs supported by Iran that have been operating in Baghdad and southern Iraqi cities.

For months and years we've had critics of the Iraq War whining that American forces would always be forced to take the lead in combat, that Iraqis were lazy and untrainable, and that Iraqi security forces were too corrupt to ever be regarded as a competent stabilizing force against rogue militias, Iranian infiltrators, and criminal gangs.

And yet as Iraqi security forces moved into Basra and elsewhere to combat criminal gangs and militias extorting profits from the nation's oil industry meant for distribution to all Iraqi's by the central government, do we hear anyone critical of U.S. and British involvement in Iraq praising Iraqi government forces as they mount their own major operations with limited U.S. involvement?

No.

Instead we get McClatchy's Washington "Truth to Power" Bureau running a headline that the attacks were "threatening success of U.S. surge." The truth, of course, is the exact opposite of what McClatchy reports.

Because the surge was successful and coincided with the Sawha movement among Sunni tribes, al Qaeda has been pushed into Mosul and the surrounding Ninevah province, where Iraqi security forces took the lead weeks ago in an operation that hopes to surround, cut off, and kill the last significant Sunni terrorist strongholds in Iraq.

Because of the success of the surge and the increasing competence of Iraqi security forces, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki decided that it was time to lead an offensive in Basra, a city long controlled by competing Shia militias that are often little more than criminal gangs. Maliki has given the militias 72 hours to lay down their arms or face "the most severe penalties."

Iraqi-led missions are targeting both Sunni and Shia extremists in hopes of asserting the monopoly of force any country must have for stability, moves that should be seen as encouraging for Iraq's long-term future.

Sadly, most reporters and ( like-minded bloggers) seemed bogged down in viewing the still-breaking news stories in Sadr City, Kut, Basra, and other Iraq cities through the prism of short-term U.S. domestic political consumption, an arena in which they would hope to exert a corrupting influence.

For many of these people, success is not an option, initiative is to be panned, and gains made are to be spun away or minimized until a Democrat wins the White House and the war can be properly lost.

Unfortunately for them, the Iraqis seem to be taking an acute interest in determining the future of their nation on their terms, not those terms dictated by the media, Iran and others championing defeat.

The Prime Minister of Iraq is all but publicly daring Muqtada al-Sadr and his Iranian allies to engage Iraqi government forces to determine the future of Iraq, a battle that the Iraq government's forces would win convincingly.

These are moments of growth for Iraq's fledgling democracy worth celebrating... providing of course, you want the nation to succeed.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:28 AM | Comments (49)

March 25, 2008

The Sadrists' Mistake

The Guardian claimed that the "surge" in Iraq was about to unravel because of strike threats from Sunni militiamen they reported last week, but if you head over to a newly-redesigned Pajamas Media today, you'll see that the threats of a strike were resolved weeks before the Guardian stories ran.

The stories were an attempt to grab defeat in the media while the threat of actual defeat on the ground seems ever more fleeting.

Yesterday, left-wing surrogate McClatchy Newspapers—they even has the ridiculous "Truth to Power" tagline—attempted to claim defeat from the opposite perspective, noting that some of the Sadrists in Iraq seem to be feeling a bit rambunctious after a long period of relative silence.

The left side of the blogosphere, always willing to latch on to even the hint of bad news without even pretending to vet their sources, were quick to declare this as reason 6,578,902 that we've already lost the war in Iraq and it is time for our troops to come home, or to at least within spitting distance.

Reality, of course, is another story.

It has long been known that at some point the Iraqi government would have to take on the criminal element that gravitated to the Sadrists, and unfortunately for these Sadrists, they waited far too long to engage. They haven't stood a chance of a military victory against IA forces for at least two years, which is why al Sadr himself continues to issue ceasefires from the safety of Tehran. Recent attempts by Sadrists to use threats and the force of arms for political ends is now likely to consolidate the power of the central government behind a string of Sadrist defeats in Basra and Baghdad.

Those on the left seem to think that any deviation from stasis in Iraq is a sign of failure, but the fact is that for a society to be stable, the government must first establish a monopoly of force.

Part of that involves either incorporating or destroying militias. In Sunni provinces, the Iraqi government is slowly incorporating the Sons of Iraq into both security and non-security positions even as they root-out the remains of al Qaeda. In Shiite areas including parts of Baghdad and Basra, this means eliminating the influence of criminal gangs hiding under al Sadr's banner.

The conflict isn't exactly a welcome development—even a temporary increase in violence will impact the innocent—but the longer-term consolidation of power by the federal government requires an eventual dissolution of Sadr's militia. Most hoped that such a dissolution of al Sadr's power would be purely political in nature, but the Sadrist gangs seem to have made the mistake of engaging Iraq's modernized security forces directly, the resolution of the long-expected inter-sect conflict will likely be more immediate than most expected, and much to Muqtada al-Sadr's dismay.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:18 AM | Comments (5)

March 20, 2008

Not Ready To End the Fight

Via AP at Hot Air, Marine Cpl. David Thibodeaux's stirring response to MoveOn.org and the Dixie Chicks.

Somehow, I don't think Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton (or their supporters) will be big fans.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:56 AM | Comments (52)

March 11, 2008

Fallon Gonged in Favor of Petraeus

Admiral William Fallon, Commander, U.S. Central Command, is resigning:

Adm. William Fallon, the top U.S. military commander for the Middle East, is resigning, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday.

Gates said Fallon had asked him Tuesday morning for permission to retire and Gates agreed. Gates said the decision was entirely Fallon's and that Gates believed it was "the right thing to do."

Fallon was the subject of an article published last week in Esquire magazine that portrayed him as opposed to President Bush's Iran policy. It described Fallon as a lone voice against taking military action to stop the Iranian nuclear program.

Gates described as "ridiculous" any notion that Fallon's departure signals the United States is planning to go to war with Iran. And he said "there is a misperception" that Fallon disagrees with the administration's approach to Iran.

"I don't think there were differences at all," Gates added.

I suspect that there will be those on the fringe left who will be screeching about how Fallon's resignation is the prelude to a preemptive war with Iran—probably before I even finish this sentence—no doubt suggested by a certain Esquire article that stated the quite fanciful claim that "it's left to Fallon--and apparently Fallon alone..." to keep Dubya from bombing Iran into the stone age.

Barnett seems to have completely overlooked the fact that it has been Tehran, not Washington, that has publicly promised not just war, but genocide (but then, in the same article, it was Burnett that claimed Fallon was "waging peace" with the Chinese in his prior assignment, even as Fallon's replacement expressed concern over massive increases in Chinese military spending, so consider the source), but that probably has little to do with his resignation at this time.

No, as Blackfive rightly notes, Fallon's retirement comes not because of friction with the Bush Administration (though there may have been some), but because General David Patraeus is coming to town, no doubt as the Administration's favored choice to lead Central Command after his implementation of COIN strategy in Iraq.

My guess? Lieutenant General Raymond T. Odierno, who executed the surge so well, backfills Petraeus as Commanding General, (MNF-I).

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:16 PM | Comments (7)

March 06, 2008

Homegrown IED Targets Manhattan Military Recruiting Station

The NY Times City Room blog has the latest details:

The police have attributed the blast to an improvised explosive device, and police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said the device had been placed in an ammunition box like the kind that can be bought at a military supply store. Mr. Kelly spoke with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at a news conference at 9:30 a.m. in Times Square. The authorities are looking into a possible connection to two earlier bombings at foreign consulates in Manhattan, in 2005 and 2007. Official said that in today’s attack, a man in a gray hooded sweatshirt was seen leaving the scene on a bicycle. Subways and traffic are running normally through Times Square.

They also have a useful slideshow of images from the scene, which gives us just enough information to start making some inferences about the bomb and the bomber.

Looking at images 1-3 in the slideshow, you'll note that the damage from the blast seems relatively minor. Image 1 give you a pretty good idea of precisely where the bomb was placed, as you can see how the shrapnel radiated out from a central point, which appears to have been (as we face the building) almost dead-center in front of the plate-glass window.

Slightly enlarging the same photo and cropping it to focus on the recruiting center front helps to see the central radiating point of the blast a bit better.

You'll also note in this closer view, and in the second and third images of the scene, that there was no attempt to make this an anti-personnel weapon, as there is no evidence of there being ball bearing, BBs, or another other sort of shrapnel that would form an intentional secondary blast mechanism.

The time of the blast was around 3:43 AM, when pedestrian traffic in the area is typically light and the recruiting station was closed. From the time of the blast and lack of shrapnel, we can make the guarded assumption that causing casualties was not the bomber's intention.

We can also infer that the bomber had no intention of destroying the targeted building as well, as the blast was small, and the ammunition can that carried the device could have easily held far more explosives.

From the choice of target, lack of shrapnel, and low amount of explosives used, I think it only logical to conclude that the blast was political in nature, a violent though purposefully less-lethal bomb, if you can ever call an improvised explosive device "less lethal." For these reasons, I doubt it was the act of Islamic extremists.

This was an act of domestic terrorism.

I do not, however, feel comfortable blaming any specific anti-war group for this act, or even pinning this as an anti-war act at this point in time.

Anti-war groups, in general, are non-violent in nature, and those that lean towards the anarchist fringe that are violence prone tend towards vandalism, and generally, don't have the technical expertise to manufacture even such a simple device.

Whoever built this bomb may have sympathies towards the anti-war movement and/or anti-military feelings, but I would be surprised to find them affiliated officially with any specific anti-war or anti-military group, and would be even more surprised if anyone inside one of these groups had advance knowledge of the attack.

There are some news accounts noting that there were similar minor blasts carried out against the Mexican and British consulates in New York in recent years, each using blackpowder inside inert hand grenade casings, also carried out by a bomber on a bicycle.

This seems quite plausible, but we won't know more until the FBI announces the findings of their investigation.

Update: A reminder, via Ace-of-Spades, that the peace-loving left isn't always so peace-leaving:

Thirty-Eight Years Ago Today

March 6, 1970 at 11:55 a.m.

Three members of the radical activist group known as the Weather Underground, Diana Oughton, Ted Gold and Terry Robbins, blew themselves straight to hell when the bomb they were building, which was intended to blow up a dance at Fort Dix, exploded in an otherwise quiet New York neighborhood.

Had they been better bomb-makers, instead of killing themselves, they would have killed an untold number of American soldiers. In the name of peace.

Luckily, the Weathermen's expertise at bomb-making left much to be desired.

The Weathermen's hatred of the United States manifested itself in the bombings of the U.S. Capitol building, New York City Police Headquarters, the Pentagon, and the National Guard offices in Washington, D.C. The Weathermen's leader, Bill Ayers summed up the Weathermen's ideology as follows: "Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, Kill your parents."

Yes, the Bill Ayer's above is the same man that has had Barack Obama as a dinner guest, and who served with Obama on the board of directors of the left-leaning Woods Fund from 1999 until 2002.

Diana Oughton, one of the deceased, was Ayer's girlfriend until some of the 100 pounds of dynamite they intended to use to bomb a non-commissioned officers' dance at Fort Dix detonated.


Update: Hot Air has surveillance video of the bike-riding bomber approaching the recruiting center, and the NYPD thinks they have his bike.

Was the suspect smart enough to wipe his prints from the bike?

Update: The bomber sent an anti-war manifesto to eight NY Democratic Congressmen.

Update: Coincidence? Authorities are now saying the anti-war activist that mailed the "We did it!" letters to Congress had nothing to do with the recruiting center blast.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:48 AM | Comments (98)

March 05, 2008

Savages

I've watched for several days the story that has grown out of a short, grainy video that shows a Marine in Iraq throwing a puppy to its death.

The act shown in the video, whether it shows a real sadistic act of animal abuse or a Marine with a warped sense of humor throwing a stuffed animal, is sickening.

Perhaps even more sickening is the mob mentality that has overtaken some of those who have viewed the video, who took it upon themselves to post the names and home address of the Marine alleged to be in the video and that of his family members, inviting other Web vigilantes to commit violent acts against them.

It is understandable to be outraged by the act shown whether is if fake or real, but does any rational human being think that an appropriate response to such an act would be the rape or murder of innocent family members, as some have called for? As for the Marine at the center of the controversy, he is currently under protective custody because of threats against his life.

There seems to be far more outrage over this video of animal abuse than far more sadistic and frequent reports of greater acts of brutality committed against human civilians by militias, terrorists, insurgents, and criminals in Iraq. I wonder why that is.

Where are the Internet detectives on Digg when al Qaeda in Iraq shows video of a car bomb that wipes out innocent families? Why are these Youtube and blog denizens not clamoring to discover the identities and home addresses of Islamic fundamentalist thugs that film decapitations and torture?

Sadly, there is far less outrage for these human victims, and occasionally, there are even attempts to rationalize their inhuman brutality.

I'm sure that if they were asked about it today, every politician in Washington would tell you that they were "shocked and appalled" at the actions of the Marine in the video, and yet, most Congressional Democrats, including Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, would help set the stage for far worse in Iraq with a headlong, unconditional withdrawal that would make such depravity far more possible.

They seek to knowingly and willfully abandon Iraq to those would would do far worse than throw that nation's civilians down a ravine, because they think the war costs too much, or because it is unpopular with their constituents.

So many of the same people who have whipped up so much outrage over a dog are indifferent to greater depredations visited upon Iraqi women and children... and yet they claim that the Marine in the video is the savage among us.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:27 PM | Comments (12)

February 13, 2008

Live By the Bomb, Die By the Bomb

Imad Mughniyeh, the "original bin Laden" has been killed by a car bomb in Damascus, Syria.

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy:

Imad Mughniyeh, the Hezbollah mastermind behind the kidnapping of Westerners in Beirut and many big terror attacks around the world in the 1980s and 1990s, was killed late last night in a car bomb explosion in Damascus.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which occurred in the Syrian capital’s smart Kfar Soussa district, although Hezbollah blamed Israeli agents.

His death is a huge blow to the Iranian-backed militant group, given Mughniyeh's years of experience and organisational skills.

He was commander of Hezbollah's military wing, which he helped to build up into the formidable machine that fought the Israeli Army to a standstill in the war of summer 2006.

Israel's Mossad was quickly fingered by Hezbollah as being responsible for the assassination, which the Israeli's have officially denied, probably between toasts.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:32 AM | Comments (9)

February 08, 2008

Scotland Yard: Blast Killed Bhutto

In The Sun:

British officials are set to release a summary later today of a report on the probe into PPP Party chief Bhutto’s December 27 death.

Scotland Yard investigators said Bhutto died from a severe headwound as she was thrown by the force of the blast.

They also said that the attack was carried out by a single person who blew himself up after opening fire, not by two as authorities had originally reported.

The finding supports the Pakistani Government’s version of events.

But what about the bullet theory, seemingly supposed by video? As I noted December 31:

While the new film shows her hair and shawl moving, however, it is not conclusive.

Unlike the Zapruder-filmed assassination (YouTube) of John F. Kennedy, however, there is not the spray of flesh and bone one might have expected from a pistol blast at near contact range of approximately six feet.

The ballistics expert interviewed by Channel 4, Roger Gray, notes the concussive blast of the bullet hitting her hair and shawl and suggests that it indicates a bullet strike on the left side of Bhutto's head. There were not, however, any direct signs of an invasive impact to Bhutto's skull as seen with Kennedy, just the movement of her hair and shawl. One might think that a bullet hitting Bhutto on the left side of the skull, penetrating, and exiting the right side of her skull would have shown signs of exiting in the form of a spray of blood and bone, which was not evident in the film footage.

So while it is probable that Bhutto was struck by a bullet, it is not conclusive, and the government account of her hitting her head cannot be conclusively ruled out.

In short, Scotland Yard seems to bring us back to square one: the seemingly bizarre Pakistani claim that Bhutto was killed when the blast threw her against the right rear sunroof latch of the armored car in which she was riding. The claim, however, is the only one that seems to make logical sense if the assassin's bullet did in fact miss.

Ever helpful, the Bhutto family has refused a request to have an autopsy performed, and her political party instead issues forth absurd claims that she was killed with a laser.

It seems that the Bhutto family is far more concerned with supporting the story of her martyrdom by an assassin's bullet than seeking what may be a less glamorous martyrdom by the force of the suicide blast throwing her skull against the right rear sunroof latch. If they continue to refuse an autopsy, we can only surmise they are more interested in preserving mythology than divining the facts.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:17 AM | Comments (2)

February 06, 2008

Acts of Desperation

I wrote several days ago about how the use of mentally-disabled suicide bombers showed just how desperate al Qaeda in Iraq in was/is becoming, stating:

These attacks today serve to show that al Qaeda in Iraq is not quite finished, but then, that is something we already knew. What is does show us is just how desperate they are to retain relevance in a war that is going very badly for them.

Far from today's attacks being a sign of the "surge" in Iraq failing, the extraordinary lengths al Qaeda was forced to take to carry out these attacks show that the "surge" and the COIN doctrine implemented by General Petraeus are working precisely as we'd hoped.

A story published today showing that al Qaeda is now training children to carry out attacks merely confirms that theory.

Al Qaeda propaganda tapes released by the Pentagon reveal a possible new trend in the group's terror strategy in Iraq.

The tapes, obtained by FOXNews and later released to the media, are training videos showing black-masked Iraqi children between 6 and 14 being taught how to hold AK-47s, how to stop a car and carry out a kidnapping, how to break into a house and how to break into a courtyard and terrorize the individuals living there.

Footage aired for reporters showed an apparent training operation in which the boys are shown storming a house and holding guns to the heads of mock residents. Another tape showed a young boy wearing a suicide vest and posing with automatic weapons.

They also are seen being taught to use rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

"These were young boys all masked and hooded, all outfitted with weapons; adults were doing the training," said Rear Adm. Greg Smith, a spokesman for Multinational Forces Iraq.

"Al Qaeda is clearly using children to exploit other children to get the interest of Jihad spread among teenagers far and wide. They use this footage on the Internet to encourage other young boys to join the jihad movement."

al Qaeda has been forced to a point where it is recruiting children to fight for it in Iraq, attempting to indoctrinate them at a young age to become acolytes of terror. While this is hardly unknown in terrorist cultures outside of Iraq—it is disturbingly common to see Palestinians indoctrinate their children this way—it has been very rare in Iraq, where al Qaeda has a desperate need for fighters now, not years from now. The children al Qaeda is training are trained for current operations.

This strongly suggests, like did the use of mentally disabled women last week, that al Qaeda is increasingly unable to find military-aged men in Iraq to carry out their attacks.

Last week at liberal blog Newshoggers, Libby called the use of mentally-disabled female suicide bombers as " a sign of adaptation and a brilliant one at that" before asking, "Perhaps Mr. Owens can educate me on how our troops are supposed to counter this new evil tactic? That would be helpful."

The quite obvious answer that she should have been able to grasp on her own was that we are successfully countering al Qaeda, using the exact COIN doctrine that she and her fellow liberals still refuse to recognize as working.

al Qaeda is forced to go to such lengths as using the mentally infirm and impressionable children as foot soldiers precisely because the COIN strategy being implemented by coalition military forces and Iraqi security forces and CLCs, is depriving the insurgents and terrorists of their base of support. Without popular support from significant sections of the population, insurgencies are doomed to fail.

While horrific and speaking a great deal about their depravity, these acts show that al Qaeda in Iraq and associated insurgent groups and criminal gangs are increasingly desperate. The proven COIN doctrine being implemented against these groups is increasingly more effective. Far from being able to brilliantly adapt, al Qaeda in Iraq has once again been proven itself to be incapable of long-term success, or even survival.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:57 AM | Comments (17)

February 01, 2008

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Two suicide attacks on pet markets in Baghdad today have left approximately 100 killed and twice as many wounded. Both attacks used women "with Down's syndrome" according the the Daily Mail and less specifically, they were described as "mentally disabled" according to CNN.

Both bombs appear to have been remote detonated. These women probably did not know they were carrying explosives at all, and it would probably be fair to include them among the victims.

The ever-objective, ever-unbiased New York Times saw fit to exclude the horrific detail of their alleged mental disabilities from their reporting of the day's massacre. It might upset their readers, and cause some confusion over who the real enemy in Iraq is (George Bush).

With tedious predictability, bloggers on the political left jumped with self-satisfaction at the opportunity to write about the attack, "proof" in their eyes, at last, that the "surge" of American forces into Iraq, which they so reviled, was a (blessed) failure.

Kevin Hayden wrote mockingly at the American Street:

How’s your surge, Mr. Oil Crony president?

It's not working so hot for Iraqis.

But Exxon seems to think it's peachy. I wonder if they plan to send flowers and a thank you note to the families of the 3943 US troops who died to make Exxon richer than 2/3rds of the planet's countries.

How many troops per gallon does your car get?

His deep and abiding concern for the men, women, and children killed in the attack, and those injured, must have been saved for a later post.

At Newshoggers, Libby was quick to jump to the occasion to declare the war lost:

I've never understood how people were lulled into thinking the surge really succeeded in establishing security in Iraq. It seemed rather apparent, even to my under-schooled eyes, that the surge was a gimmick. It reminded me of those bait and switch promotions that unscrupulous retailers used to engage in. The surge raised the violence to greater levels and then lowered the numbers with artificial manipulatons [sic] to a level that had been judged unacceptable when the surge began. But all that too many Americans seemed to notice was that the levels dropped. For some reson[sic], the relative metrics just didn't register.

The surge, you see (like spell-check) is a gimmick in Libby's eyes, and the very real drop in attacks and casualties around Iraq because of the application of COIN doctrine is just the result of artificial "manipulatons," whatever they may be.

Both, of course, miss the larger picture in their desire, their need to prove their worldview right. But she is right in one regard... she is "under-schooled" in how this war is being fought, and why it is being won.

These attacks today are not the first time al Qaeda in Iraq has stooped to using female suicide bombers. They have been used several times, including twice earlier this month in Diyala.

This tells us several things.

First, it tells us that al Qaeda in Iraq recognizes that attempts to use male suicide bombers and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), their preferred method of suicide attacks for those seeking martyrdom, are no longer effective. These attacks fail because the combination of coalition military forces, Iraqi security forces, and neighborhood militias, known as "concerned local citizens" (CLCs) creating a security system that increasingly works, and makes it very unlikely that these preferred attacks will succeed. There is also some speculation that the influx of would-be foreign suicide bombers into Iraq is drying up.

Today's attacks also tell us that al Qaeda in Iraq is getting very desperate in seeking the high-casualty attacks that they so value. They were forced to scrape the bottom of the proverbial barrel, and use not only women (which they'd prefer to subjugate), but mentally disabled women at that, suggesting that finding willing volunteers is becoming ever more difficult.

These attacks today serve to show that al Qaeda in Iraq is not quite finished, but then, that is something we already knew. What is does show us is just how desperate they are to retain relevance in a war that is going very badly for them.

Far from today's attacks being a sign of the "surge" in Iraq failing, the extraordinary lengths al Qaeda was forced to take to carry out these attacks show that the "surge" and the COIN doctrine implemented by General Petraeus are working precisely as we'd hoped.

Update: The NY Times has updated the original article to now include a contribution from Mudhafer al-Husaini. It now includes commentary about the mental disability of the suicide bombers... buried 15 paragraphs into the now much longer story.

IHT still has up an original version of this story as it ran earlier, which I've copied into the comments as well.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:15 PM | Comments (80)

January 31, 2008

Predator: 12 13, Al Qaeda: 0

I wrote earlier this week about militants killed in a missile strike in Pakistan. At the time, I speculated that they were going after "high-value targets" (HVTs), and speculated that the attack may have been a U.S. Predator drone strike like the one that targeted al Qaeda's Number 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri in 2006.

According to Michelle Malkin, It looks like they may have targeting someone else, as noted in this Reuters article:

A leading al Qaeda member in Afghanistan, Abu Laith al-Libi, has been killed, a Web site often used by the group and other Islamists said on Thursday.

A banner on the Ekhlaas.org site said Libi had fallen as a martyr, without giving further details.

It was not immediately clear if Libi's death was linked to a suspected U.S. missile strike that killed up to 13 foreign militants in Pakistan's North Waziristan region this week.

The attack had targeted second or third tier al Qaeda leaders, according to residents in the tribal area.

Tribesmen in the area had said a deputy of Libi, a senior al Qaeda leader, had been staying there and was among the dead, according to an intelligence official.

It remains to be seen if any other high-ranking al Qaeda figures were among the 12 killed, and whether or not it was, in fact, a U.S. drone operating well inside Pakistan. An earlier AP report seems to suggest that possibility:

A resident said an armed drone may have carried out the strike.

"We could see a small, white plane flying over the village for the past several days," villager Dildar Khan said.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said he had no information about any missile strike.

The government often uses airstrikes to attack militants in areas that its ground forces and artillery cannot reach, but some of the aerial attacks near the border in recent years are believed to have been launched by missile-armed U.S. drones flying from Afghanistan.

Authorities in both the U.S. and Afghanistan have denied knowledge of such operations.

Sure they do. It doesn't make the terrorists any less dead.

More from Reuters, which also leans towards a predator strike in Pakistan:

An intelligence official, however, told Reuters on Thursday that based on information gleaned from tribal contacts there were seven Arabs and six Central Asians killed.

He said the attack was believed to have been carried out by a pilotless U.S. Predator aircraft flown across the nearby border with Afghanistan.

"The missile appeared to have been fired by a drone," the intelligence official said.

The Pakistani authorities have not confirmed the attack, and the Pentagon has denied taking any action, but the Defense Department does not speak for the Central Intelligence Agency, which operates Predators that the tribesmen say carried out the attack late on Monday.

Villagers saw two drones flying over the area before the attack. They didn't see the missile being fired but one heard a plane's engine before the explosion.

The same report states that in addition to Abu Laith al Libi, Obaidah al Masri may have been another target of the attack. al Masri was reportedly the leader of the 2006 UK-based plot to bomb transatlantic airliners.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)

Silence of the Media Lambs

A current employee of the Department of Homeland Security, who spoke to Pajamas Media on the condition of anonymity, had this to say: "It is mind-boggling. I've sent personal emails to my contacts at ABC, at CBS, at the New York Times, and the Washington Times. No one is even responding to my emails. They call me back about other things, but as far as Sibel [Edmonds] is concerned, anything touching on that subject gets overlooked, gets ignored."

"Why?" this reporter asked.

"Reporters are terrified of the State Secrets Privilege and being subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury. No one wants to wind up like Judy Miller — in jail."

What are they covering up? If Annie Jacobsen is correct, nuclear treason at the State Department.

Why?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:12 PM | Comments (6)

January 29, 2008

Targeting Zawahiri?

Interesting...

Twelve suspected militants died in a missile strike on a home in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, officials said.

The attack occurred after midnight in Khushali Torikhel, a village in North Waziristan, a tribal region bordering Afghanistan, an intelligence and a government official in the region said.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the attack. The two officials who spoke did so on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make media comments.

Pakistan has been trying to tamp down on militancy in its border regions, where elements of Al Qaeda and the Taliban are believed to operate.

Technically, the Pakistani military has the capability to launch guided missiles from both ground platforms (given the terrain and effective range, unlikely) and from aircraft (more likely), but considering the proximity to the Afghan border and the fact that the strike happened at nighttime, I would hardly be surprised to find out that a U.S. Predator armed with Hellfire missiles made the strike. If that was the case, I would not be surprised to see that leaked out over coming days.

Of course, if this was a U.S. strike, the next logical question is to ask if they were after any high value targets (HVTs) in particular.

In January of 2006, a Predator fired missiles into a compound on the Pakistan border in hopes of taking out al Qaeda's Number 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's chief deputy. The 2006 strike missed Zawahiri.

Could we have been more fortunate this time?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:54 AM | Comments (3)

January 25, 2008

"The Final Battle"

Iraqi military forces are closing in on the northern Iraqi city of Mosul following a massive HBIED (home or structural improvised explosive device) killed 40 and wounded 220 on Wednesday, and a smaller blast by a suicide bomber dressed as a policeman killed the Nineveh province police director and tour others as they inspected the blast site.

"We have set up an operations room in Nineveh to complete the final battle with al Qaeda along with guerrillas and members of the previous regime,"militants the government says remain loyal to former leader Saddam Hussein.

"Today our forces started moving to Mosul. What we are planning in Nineveh will be decisive," he said during a ceremony for victims of violence in the holy Shi'ite southern city of Kerbala, broadcast on state television.

Maliki gave no details of the number of Iraqi troops involved or the scale of the operation. Defence Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari did not have details but said it had been launched at Maliki's request.

"Security is very weak there and the security forces need to be reinforced," Askari said.

As noted above in the article by Reuters' Aws Qusay, there have not been any details provided about the composition of the Iraqi forces or their numbers, but what Maliki and Askari state seems to indicate that the offensive may be entirely Iraq in nature, a claim I'm attempting to verify with U.S. military public affairs in Iraq.

Iraqi forces are "in the lead" in 9 of 18 Iraqi provinces with other province hand-overs expected in 2008, and during Ashura, Iraqi security forces led security operations that successfully protected over 2 million pilgrims. But outside of Iraq, "taking the lead" for security in 9 provinces and securing Ashura events simply isn't the kind of security success easily grasped by either journalists or the public at large.

If—and it is an "if"—they do indeed engage in a large urban clearing operation carried out exclusively by Iraqi forces, however, it would seem to be a "Virginia Slims" moment that the American public can grasp on to as a a tangible success.

For an Iraqi military that has been disparaged for so long, it would be nice to say, "You've come a long way, baby."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:13 AM | Comments (5)

January 24, 2008

Saddam Lied, People Died

Don't expect this to penetrate to consciousness of those who bought the CPI report unapologetically and uncritically, they won't let George Bush off the hook, no matter the reality:

Saddam Hussein initially didn't think the U.S. would invade Iraq to destroy weapons of mass destruction, so he kept the fact that he had none a secret to prevent an Iranian invasion he believed could happen. The Iraqi dictator revealed this thinking to George Piro, the FBI agent assigned to interrogate him after his capture...

..."He told me he initially miscalculated... President Bush's intentions. He thought the United States would retaliate with the same type of attack as we did in 1998...a four-day aerial attack," says Piro. "He survived that one and he was willing to accept that type of attack." "He didn't believe the U.S. would invade?" asks Pelley, "No, not initially," answers Piro.

Once the invasion was certain, says Piro, Saddam asked his generals if they could hold the invaders for two weeks. "And at that point, it would go into what he called the secret war," Piro tells Pelley. But Piro isn't convinced that the insurgency was Saddam's plan. "Well, he would like to take credit for the insurgency," says Piro.

Saddam still wouldn't admit he had no weapons of mass destruction, even when it was obvious there would be military action against him because of the perception he did. Because, says Piro, "For him, it was critical that he was seen as still the strong, defiant Saddam. He thought that [faking having the weapons] would prevent the Iranians from reinvading Iraq," he tells Pelley.

He also intended and had the wherewithal to restart the weapons program. "Saddam] still had the engineers. The folks that he needed to reconstitute his program are still there," says Piro. "He wanted to pursue all of WMD…to reconstitute his entire WMD program." This included chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, Piro says.

It seems like The Center for Public Integrity and The Fund for Independence in Journalism have some explaining to do...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:35 PM | Comments (86)

January 23, 2008

Suicide Attacks Thwarted in Spain

Must be those pesky Methodists:

The Spanish judge overseeing the arraignment of 10 terrorism suspects said Wednesday that they had "planned to carry out a series of suicide attacks" last weekend on public transportation in Barcelona.

In a sequence of six-page rulings, one for each of the 10 suspects he ordered to be held in jail after their arraignments.

"Judge Ismael Moreno wrote that the suspects "had achieved human operational capacity and were very close to achieving full technical capacity with explosives, with the aim of using the those explosives for a jihadi terrorist attack, and it can be deduced that the members of the terrorist cell now broken up planned to carry out a series of suicide attacks last weekend, January 18 to 20, against public transport in the city of Barcelona."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:47 PM | Comments (3)

January 21, 2008

Marine Hero's Widow Scammed, But Not Forgotten

shumneyfam1
1st Lt. Dustin Shumney with Conner, Jordan, Mallory, and Julie Shumney.

[text and images via patdollard.com.]

1st Lt. Dustin Shumney was a devout Catholic, dedicated officer, family man, and Iraq War hero.

His widow Julie, and their three children Jordan, 15; Mallory, 11; Conner, 6 were awarded the Bronze Star with the Combat ‘V’ device on August 4, 2005 as a result of his heroic actions in Fallujah, Iraq while serving as the commander of 2nd platoon, Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team for Hawaii based 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

He led his men fearlessly into Fallujah in November of 2004. Shumney’s confidence, proficiency and warfighting spirit made a positive impact on his platoon’s ability to fight.

And fight they did. Few men have ever exercised the type of bravery exhibited by Shumney and his men. From throwing live enemy grenades that landed at his feet back at the enemy, to leading his men through dangerous minefields, to clearing houses filled with suicidal insurgents, all the while under sporadic mortar, RPG, and small arms fire.

Articles have been written. Heroes have been recognized. Medals have been awarded.

Many posthumously.

Lt. Shumney died on Jan. 26, 2005, when the CH-53E Sea Stallion helicopter he and his men were using for transport crashed due to a sandstorm about 200 miles from Baghdad near Ar Rutbah, Iraq killing all on board. Approximately 30 Marines and one sailor perished in the crash making it one of the deadliest days for U.S. troops since the initial invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

On that day, Julie Shumney became a widow, and the three children she and Dustin had lovingly brought into the world, Jordan, Mallory, and Conner, became fatherless.

One of the most noble things a person can do, is to help widows and orphans during their “time of trouble.“

The harshness of the reality that her soulmate would never walk through their front door again and take her in his arms, the emptiness that Daddy would never again tuck them into their beds, kiss them goodnight and chase away the boogeymen; the knowledge that he would never be there to lead, guide, play with, and love their children again, is a time of trouble no decent person would ever wish upon any other.

In times like those, friends and family should come together, band around the widow and the fatherless, and give them aid and comfort.

This is the tale of two men who preyed upon this widow and her fatherless children, in their time of trouble, and bilked them out of $57,000.

Arguably, one of the best ways a person can work through grief is to give oneself to a charitable cause. This is what Julie Shumney did. She held a Bible study at her house with people from her church, and through the course of those weekly meetings she came up with the idea to raise money to give to various Christian outreach programs around the country.

More specifically, a program that would give money to Iraq War widows and orphans. This was especially dear to her. She wanted to help those who would go through what she had been going through.

This is where Julie Shumney’s heart is, to help those truly in need.

“I just was wanting to give back,” Julie said.

Enter Jeff, an evangelist from her church, who also led the weekly Bible study in Julie’s house, he seemed like a nice enough guy. And when the idea to help Iraq War widows and orphans came about, Jeff told Julie about a friend of his named Ken.

Jeff explained that Ken had had some success in an eBay business that revolved around buying truckloads of returned electronics merchandise from national chain stores like Circuit City and Wal-Mart at a greatly reduced price. They go through the items, salvaging what they can and putting them up for sale on eBay.

According to Jeff and Ken, their first investor, a man named Hencer, had fronted them the money needed to get that business going, and Hencer claimed he had received his initial investment back with no problem.

What could go wrong? The nice evangelist guy has a friend with a tried and true method that could help them raise lots of money to give to Iraq War widows and orphans. Her idea was that they would recoup the initial investment and give the profits to the widows and orphans charity, then take that initial investment and buy another truckload of reduced electronics, etc etc…and continue the cycle of charitable giving.

Sounded like a good plan for a good cause.

They drew up a contract. Julie gave them a Cashier’s Check for $40,000 with the stipulation that $5,000 be used to help “start up” the business, and that nobody made any profit off of the venture, that the profits would go to the charities. Contract signed, check handed over, Julie felt good. She felt that she might be able to help make a difference in the lives of those who would be going through one of the worst times of their lives.

Both Jeff and Kenneth had said that the project would be a side thing for them, that they would be volunteering their time with the project in the spirit of giving, and helping the Iraq war widows and orphans.

But soon afterward, things started to go bad. The contract they had signed had mysteriously disappeared. Whenever Julie would call Ken or Jeff to check on how things were going, she would get conflicting stories.

Things weren’t adding up.

But Julie, being a good Christian, believed that because they were also Christians, brothers in the faith, she should give them the benefit of the doubt.

Then one day, Jeff the evangelist came to Julie in tears. He said he was unable to live with himself knowing what he knew and that he was losing sleep, and his conscience was eating away at him.

He told her that Ken had been pocketing the money. That Ken had bought a car for his wife with it, that he had been making his own house payments with it, that he had been simply spending it as if it were his own money. Jeff went on to tell Julie that he himself had been unfaithful with the funds, paying for an expensive school for his own son, as well as numerous other personal bills.

Julie said “Well, let’s go get my electronics from your garage then. They belong to me.”

Jeff agreed. But Jeff said that Ken was a dangerous person with a criminal background. That there was no telling what he would do if he was confronted with his wrongdoing. So they decided initially, to not tell Ken that Jeff had informed Julie of the deception. Instead they took the merchandise, rented a warehouse, and moved it there. Then, Jeff told Ken that he was no longer part of the project.

Jeff then told Julie they needed to buy another smaller truckload of electronics to try and help recoup her losses, and Julie reluctantly agreed on the condition that she send the money directly to the company that was selling the truckload of electronics, and she did that.

Jeff brought in a man named Brandon, who was supposedly an honest guy, to help.

Soon after they started operating, Jeff said that Paypal kept shutting them down and they didn’t know why. Jeff gave Julie some excuse about eBay, which she found hard to believe. Julie knew it was time to just shut it down. Brandon came to her and told her that things with Jeff were “not as they seemed.”

Julie ended recouping only $7,000 of her $57,000 investment. Ken had threatened her if she tried to come after him for her money back. Apparently these two guys run some ministry called John G. Lake.org.

I talked to Julie on the phone this afternoon. Her income, which was supposed to be from an annuity is gone because she had to liquidate the annuity. She is having a hard time making ends meet.

She wants to pursue the matter legally, but that also takes money that she doesn’t have.

An Iraq War Hero’s widow and fatherless children need your help.


Click above to donate directly to Julie Shumney’s Paypal account.
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:56 AM | Comments (6)

January 14, 2008

Prayers for "Big Country"

Long-time CY commenter William "Big Country" Coughlin is recovering in the United States from wounds sustained in the Middle East theater of operations (most likely Iraq, but I cannot yet confirm that detail).

The wounds are not life-threatening but have him confined to a wheelchair since late December. He hopes to make a full recovery and return to duty in Iraq providing logistical support within five weeks.

If you will, say a prayer for him and other contractors killed or wounded in the line of duty while supporting our military.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:02 AM | Comments (3)

January 10, 2008

Liberal Math

I don't often go after individual bloggers, but statements made yesterday by "dday" at Hullabaloo warrant direct comment.

Discussing a new report that places the number of Iraqi's killed since the start of the war until June of 2006 at roughly 151,000, "dday" wrote:

NPR was trying to spin this as somehow a LOW number of Iraqi civilian casualties in the last three and a half years, because it comes in lower than the Lancet study. But it remains 150,000 human lives, dead, senselessly, for an unnecessary war of choice. And that only goes up to June 2006, and the authors of the study admitted they were unable to reach certain areas that were "too violent."

Not to mention the 3,900-plus soldiers, including 9 in the last two days. And the numbers of wounded are incalculable.

All to remove a dictator who wasn't nearly as efficient at killing Iraqis.

Saddam Hussein "wasn't nearly as efficient at killing Iraqis"? Only in his community-based reality.

Between 70-125 Iraqi civilians were killed per day during Saddam Hussein's reign.

Along with other human rights organizations, The Documental Centre for Human Rights in Iraq has compiled documentation on over 600,000 civilian executions in Iraq. Human Rights Watch reports that in one operation alone, the Anfal, Saddam killed 100,000 Kurdish Iraqis. Another 500,000 are estimated to have died in Saddam's needless war with Iran. Coldly taken as a daily average for the 24 years of Saddam's reign, these numbers give us a horrifying picture of between 70 and 125 civilian deaths per day for every one of Saddam's 8,000-odd days in power.

That gives us a range of 600,000-1,000,000 civilians killed during Saddam's stewardship, with a median average of 97.5 Iraqi civilians killed per day during his reign, or 780,000. Over 24 years, that is a median average of 32,500 Iraqi civilians per year...

But this isn't a true "apples to apples" comparison, is it?

This does not include military deaths that occurred during Saddam's "unnecessary war of choice" with Iran from 1980-88, which which accounts for roughly one million more lives on both sides, nor casualties sustained as a result of his other "unnecessary war of choice" that resulted from his invasion of Kuwait, where an estimated 100,000+ died during the first Gulf War in 1990-91.

Combining the number of civilians killed by Saddam and number of soldiers killed on all sides during his two "unnecessary wars of choice," and we find a median estimate of 1.88 million killed during his 24-year reign, or 235 people a day.

The Iraq War started on March 20, 2003, and this study ran through June of 2006. In that time, 151,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed, or 126.04 per day.

Add in 10,000 estimated terrorist/insurgent/militia dead and roughly 2762 through that time period Coalition military deaths, and you arrive at a rough total of 163762 total violent deaths, or 136.7 total violent deaths per day through June 2006.

235 violent deaths per day over Saddam's reign including his wars.

137 violent deaths per day in Iraq over the first three years of the present war.

You do the math, and try to paint Saddam's continued reign as a preferable state of affairs.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:04 AM | Comments (24)

Air Strikes Hit 40 Targets in Iraqi Offensive

From 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div. PAO, via email press release:

More than 40 targets were hit Jan. 10 after precision air strikes destroyed reported al-Qaeda safe havens in Arab Jabour. Thirty-eight bombs were dropped within the first 10 minutes, with a total tonnage of 40,000 pounds.

The precision air strikes supported Operation Phantom Phoenix, the overarching operation that includes Operation Marne Thunderbolt.

[snip]

Two B-1 Bombers and four F-16 fighter jets, directed bombs at three large target areas. Each bomber made two passes and the F-16s followed to complete the set.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:24 AM | Comments (1)

January 07, 2008

I Wouldn't Get Too Excited...

...over news that Osma Bin Laden's security coordinator was captured in Lahore, Pakistan.

Not because it couldn't happen, but because the source is Pakistan's The Nation, the same news organization that reported the claim last week that Benazir Bhutto was killed by a laser.

As a result, I'd consider their credibility just a wee bit suspect.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)

December 31, 2007

Impact?

Channel 4 has new video of the Benazir Bhutto assassination that seems to indicate that the former Prime Minister was indeed hit by the assassin's bullet before she fell back into the car (click Watch this report).

The video, shot from behind Bhutto's vehicle and to the right, shows Bhutto's hair and shawl rise as the pistol discharges for the second time. She drops into the vehicle prior to the suicide bomber detonating. There is nothing in this video to indicate that the first and third shots had any effect.

While the new film shows her hair and shawl moving, however, it is not conclusive.

Unlike the Zapruder-filmed assassination (YouTube) of John F. Kennedy, however, there is not the spray of flesh and bone one might have expected from a pistol blast at near contact range of approximately six feet.

The ballistics expert interviewed by Channel 4, Roger Gray, notes the concussive blast of the bullet hitting her hair and shawl and suggests that it indicates a bullet strike on the left side of Bhutto's head. There were not, however, any direct signs of an invasive impact to Bhutto's skull as seen with Kennedy, just the movement of her hair and shawl. One might think that a bullet hitting Bhutto on the left side of the skull, penetrating, and exiting the right side of her skull would have shown signs of exiting in the form of a spray of blood and bone, which was not evident in the film footage.

So while it is probable that Bhutto was struck by a bullet, it is not conclusive, and the government account of her hitting her head cannot be conclusively ruled out.

Channel 4 was slightly deceptive in their account when they show a sunroof latch from her vehicle and state that there was no sign of blood, implying that the Pakistani government was lying. The government may very well be lying, but the latch they show does not support this; there were two on each side, and Channel 4 is clearly showing the right front latch, while it is the right rear latch that has blood on it and that Bhutto is said to have hit her head on.

full

It appears everyone is trying to spin the story of Bhutto's assassination for their own advantage, including the media.

Update: Image added.

It is worth noting that if a bullet struck Bhutto a glancing blow and ricocheted away without fully penetrating her skull, that it could possibly leave a wound that would not necessarily look like that of a typical gunshot wound, and instead look something like a blunt force trauma.

If this is the case—and without an autopsy, there are no definitive answers—then the Pakistani government, seeing blood on the rear latch and not seeing evidence of a clear bullet hole, may have incorrectly surmised the cause of death as an impact with the rear sunroof latch as she went down. This is incompetence, but not necessarily a conspiracy to deprive Bhutto of her martyrdom.

In any event, it does not excuse Channel 4 from showing the front sunroof latch and insinuating that there was no blood on any latch, when they clearly took a closeup of the front right latch for their closely-cropped still photo, still in the exact position as shown in the photo above.

Update: AllahPundit's analysis here.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:06 AM | Comments (7)

December 27, 2007

Bhutto Assassinated

Pakistan Bhutto Blast
A supporter of Pakistan former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourns deaths of his colleagues after a suicide attack in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007. Bhutto died Thursday from her injuries sustained in the attack, a party aide said. At least 20 others were killed in the attack.
(AP Photo/B.K.Bangash)

Former Pakistani Prime Minster and Pakistan People's Party leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi, Pakistan today, following a campaign rally at Liaqat Bagh park preceding elections scheduled for January 8.

Members of Bhutto's political party confirmed that Bhutto died in surgery at Rawalpindi General Hospital at 6:16 PM from gunshot wounds to her chest and neck.

At least five shots were fired at Bhutto as she entered her vehicle, and a gunman equipped with a suicide vest blew himself up 50 yards from her vehicle after the shots were fired.

Early reports indicate that at least 20 supporters and police were killed in the blast.

Bhutto led the opposition against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Developing news and blog coverage of the assassination is being updated at Pajamas Media.

Update: Rioting is expected across Pakistan as a result of Bhutto's death.

Bhutto had been the target of previous assassination attempts from Islamic extremists, and it would be reasonable to assume that they were behind today's attack as well. Some have been quick to also point a finger at jihadi-friendly elements of the Pakistani intelligence community, which seems a reasonable assumption, but at this time it is simply too early to know.

What is certain is that Bhutto's death will throw Pakistani into turmoil, and President Pervez Musharraf now faces the greatest crisis of his Presidency. The January 8 elections now seem in doubt, and missteps by Musharraf could plunge the nuclear-armed country into a possible civil war.

If Musharraf is able to keep the situation from deteriorating to that point, and Islamists are found to be responsible for Bhutto's assassination, he may finally be forced to face the Taliban and al Qaeda-aligned militants in the border regions that terrorists have used as a staging area and base camp since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, forces he has largely tried to appease or ignore in the past.

Following Bhutto's assassination, it would not be very surprising to see Musharraf finally authorize U.S. forces to make cross border raids into the tribal areas in a push to wipe out known Taliban and al Qaeda strongholds, though this point, it is far too early to tell how the former general and current President will react.

Update: Via Hot Air, it seems al Qaeda is taking responsibility for the attack. This may be Musharraf's best chance to clean out the Taliban and al Qaeda with the support of the Pakistani people. Let's hope his does his nation a favor and does just that.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:21 AM | Comments (4)

December 26, 2007

If At First You Don't Succeed...

Russia is selling a new air defense system to our friends in Tehran:

The new S-300 air defense system signals growing miitary [sic] cooperation between Moscow and Tehran, Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said Wednesday.

"The S-300 air defense system will be delivered to Iran on the basis of a contract signed with Russia in the past," state television quoted Najjar as saying.

Najjar didn't say when or how many of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile defense systems would be shipped to Iran.

Earlier this year, Russia delivered 29 Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran under a $700 million contract signed in December 2005.

Russian officials wouldn't comment on the Iranian statement, but the Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified source in the Russian military-industrial complex as saying that a contract for the missiles delivery had been signed several years ago and envisaged the delivery of several dozen S-300 missile systems.

The S-300 is much more powerful and versatile weapon than the Tor-M1 missile systems supplied earlier, which were capable of hitting airborne targets flying at up to 20,000 feet.

The S-300 is capable of shooting down aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missile warheads at ranges of up to 95 miles and at altitudes of up to 90,000 feet. Russian military officials boast that it excels the U.S.-built Patriot missiles currently being deployed in Israel.

The announcement comes three months after Israeli strike fighters bombed what some claimed was a nuclear weapons assembly plant in another Soviet client state, Syria.

The Aviation Week blog Ares suggests that the Israelis were able to penetrate the Syrian's Russian-made air defense system with non-steathy F15 and F16 strike fighters by using an airborne network attack system. The US-developed system, called "Suter," may have taken over the state-of-the-art Syrian air defense network, rendering it effectively blind.

While the capabilities of both "Suter" and the Russian air defense systems are classified, there is little reason to believe that the S-300 system is any less prone to being taken over by the airborne attack system than the TOR-1 short-range system already in use by both Syria and Iran.

If this is the case, Iran my be spending millions on an anti-aircraft system that may never see the bombers that kill it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:06 PM | Comments (1)

December 13, 2007

Another Fake Massacre

This is CNN:

Iraqi soldiers have found a mass grave of mutilated bodies in a restive region north of Baghdad, a local security official told CNN Thursday.

...

Iraqi soldiers said 12 of the bodies found north of Baghdad were beheaded and four others were mutilated. The corpses, all male, were discovered Wednesday near Muqdadiya in Diyala province north of the capital, the official, from Diyala province, said on Thursday.

He said police believe al Qaeda in Iraq left behind the mass grave.

Uh, no.

From Task For Iron's PAO via email:

This appears to false reporting. We currently have no information to confirm this. Neither the Brigade on the ground, or out teams that work with the IA or IPs can confirm this.

This is at least the fifth "massacre of civilians story by al Qaeda" attributed to anonymous police, civilian, or military sources by incurious reporters this year.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:01 PM | Comments (14)

November 28, 2007

A "Tepid" Riot

Terribly Enraged People of Indeterminate Descent (Tepids) have raged through France for the third night now.

Sustaining in excess of more than 80 injuries thus far, including more than 30 officers shot, French police are probably wishing they were somewhere relatively safer right now. Like Baghdad, Ramadi, Fallujah, Tikrit...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:17 AM | Comments (16)

November 20, 2007

AP's Grandstanding on the Hussein Case

Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein was arrested in a terrorist sweep in September of 2006 with Hamid Hamad Motib, a known member of al Qaeda, and another insurgent. Yesterday, it was announced that Hussein will be brought before an investigative magistrate in the Iraqi legal system, and the magistrate will determine whether or not there are grounds to try Hussein under Iraqi law.

AP Associate General Counsel Dave Tomlin made quite a bit of noise in response:

An AP attorney on Monday strongly protested the decision, calling the U.S. military plans a "sham of due process." The journalist, Bilal Hussein, has already been imprisoned without charges for more than 19 months.

And from AP boss Tom Curley:

"While we are hopeful that there could be some resolution to Bilal Hussein's long detention, we have grave concerns that his rights under the law continue to be ignored and even abused," said AP President and CEO Tom Curley.

"The steps the U.S. military is now taking continue to deny Bilal his right to due process and, in turn, may deny him a chance at a fair trial. The treatment of Bilal represents a miscarriage of the very justice and rule of law that the United States is claiming to help Iraq achieve. At this point, we believe the correct recourse is the immediate release of Bilal," Curley added.

These Associated Press officers are taking the infuriating course of trying to spin this case in terms of American law, and not Iraqi law.

As an American military source in Iraq said moments ago:

In the Iraqi system, there is an investigative judge who does the initial work and you can think of it closer terms to a grand jury. Those are not open to the public and that is where indictments are made.

Some of the information is currently classified and as such won't be made public per se, but will be provided at trial, but again, not to the public. Just as in a military court-martial, they are open to the public, but if classified information is to be discussed, it is then closed to the public for that portion. Just like testimony in Congress...there are open and closed sessions.

The biggest issue is the attempts to equate it to our system when it should not be.

Curley and Tomlin, respectively the AP President/CEO and Associate General Counsel, are grandstanding as they try to spin this pending case in the court of American public opinion.

Hussein's actual guilt or innocence as a potential terrorist seems to be to them a secondary concern.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:20 AM | Comments (8)

Federal Grand Jury Investigating Blackwater Shooting?

Seems like it:

A federal grand jury is said to be investigating the role of Blackwater Worldwide security guards in the shooting deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.

The Blackwater guards involved in the September 16 shooting at Nisoor Square in west Baghdad initially were given limited immunity from prosecution by State Department investigators in exchange for their statements about what happened. One senior FBI official close to the investigation told The Associated Press last week that he was aware of evidence that could indicate 14 of the shootings were unjustified.

By far, the most damning part of the story is this:

ABC said it had obtained statements given to State Department diplomatic security agents. According to the statements, only five guards acknowledged firing their weapons in the incident. Twelve other guards witnessed the events but did not fire, according to the statements.

As it stands, only five of 17 discharged their weapons. If the convoy was actually under fire as some have maintained (which the evidence does not seem to support), I would have expected a much higher percentage of the guards to have expended rounds.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:26 AM | Comments (47)

November 19, 2007

Bringing Out the Dead

Recent stories of a mass grave turning up in the Doura district of Baghdad very well may be "fake but accurate," according to sources in Iraq, including Michael Yon.

The bodies, found inside unfinished homes, appear to be at roughly seven months deceased—some little more than bones—and sources state that it appears that the bodies were only recently dumped there.

I'm seeking more information through the PAO system, but in the meantime, I'm unsure just what the dumping of these bodies means.

Are the various anti-Iraqi forces (AQI and the ISI for the Sunnis, or Shia militias) fearing that holding on to these bodies might lead to them get caught? Or were they desperately trying to create a media spectacle, and have found themselves reduced to this level?

I find it very hard to believe that anti-Iraqi forces are in such disarray at this point that they are reduced to a Pythonesque "Bring out your dead!" stunt to get media attention, but the thought that they felt the need to dump these bodies certainly seem to mean that they are feeling the pressure of recently coalition advances.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:19 AM | Comments (2)

The Pajamas Media War on Terror Conversation with Fred Thompson

The Pajamas Media War on Terror Conversation with Fred Thompson that Roger Simon and I did last week is online, and I hope that the questions we asked Senator Thompson will give you a better idea of his positions and his passions than do the short, 15-second sound bites candidates are usually allowed.

I don't want to lead anyone—these War on Terror conversations are about informing, not guiding—but I did want to comment on the some of the "conventional wisdom" regarding Senator Thompson, that claims his campaign lacks energy and drive, and that it is lazy.

I was able to watch the first part of the Senator's speech before leaving to get ready for our interview, and I found him to be a passionate and engaging speaker. But don't take my word for it. Watch the conversation, and decide for yourself.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:23 AM | Comments (6)

November 17, 2007

On Coming Home

What you need to know, first and last, is that so-called PTSD is not an illness. It is a normal condition for people who have been through what you have been through. The instinct to kill and war is native to humanity. It is very deeply rooted in me, as it is in you. We have rules and customs to restrain it, so that sometimes we may have peace. What you are experiencing is not an illness, but the awareness of what human nature is like deep down. It is the awareness of what life is like without the walls that protect civilization.

You might need this, or know someone who might need this. PTS and PTSD affect not only those in the military and civilian first responders, but your friends, neighbors, and family members, for a multitude of reasons.

Read it all.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:09 PM | Comments (4)

November 16, 2007

Back to Church

stjohns3
U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Ben Washburn

Shortly over a week ago, Michael Yon shot an iconic photo of a group of Muslim and Christian Iraqis placing a cross back atop St. John's Chruch in Baghdad's Doura neighborhood, in Thanks and Praise.

Yesterday, American soldiers and Iraqi citizens attended the first service in St. John's since May 5. The church had been bombed and burned in 2004.

Update: I should have known he'd be there, too.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:07 AM | Comments (10)

November 07, 2007

Thanks and Praise

Thanks and Praise-vers1

Mike Yon:

I photographed men and women, both Christians and Muslims, placing a cross atop the St. John's Church in Baghdad. They had taken the cross from storage and a man washed it before carrying it up to the dome. A Muslim man had invited the American soldiers from "Chosen" Company 2-12 Cavalry to the church, where I videotaped as Muslims and Christians worked and rejoiced at the reopening of St John's, an occasion all viewed as a sign of hope.


The Iraqis asked me to convey a message of thanks to the American people. "Thank you, thank you," the people were saying. One man said, "Thank you for peace." Another man, a Muslim, said "All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian, is brother." The men and women were holding bells, and for the first time in memory freedom rang over the ravaged land between two rivers.

Comparisons to Rosenthal's iconic Iwo Jima photo are both obvious and immediate. Rand Simberg thinks Yon should win a Pulitzer for this photo. Frankly, that honor should have come two years ago. Instead, they gave it to a gaggle of Associated Press photographers, one of which, Bilal Hussein, was later arrested with a known al Qaeda terrorist and remains in jail.

No, this photo is not as iconic as the Rosenthal photo, nor Yon's 2005 photo of Major Mark Bieger carrying a mortally wounded Iraqi child after an al Qaeda car bomb attack.

The symbolism of an ending sectarian conflict, and possibly the dawning of an Iraq that is appearing more and more like it is verging upon moving into a post-war period, however, is every bit as great.

Update: Chris Muir captures the moment at Day-by-Day.

11/08 Update: Major Kirk Leudeke, Public Affairs Officer for
4th IBCT, 1st ID, states that 2-12 IN is one of the units attached to his brigade, and that they've been in combat for about a year.

He said that St. John's Church had been bombed and burned back in 2004, but that since that time, the church's inner sanctuary has been restored, and putting the cross back on the building was the "crowning touch."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:24 PM | Comments (26)

October 31, 2007

Beating the Smallest Enemies

Jay Price of McClatchy Newspapers put up an interesting post yesterday afternoon that I happened to catch off of Memeorandum.com, which reminds us that traditionally, it isn't the dramatic wounds of battle that cause most military casualties, but disease and non-combat injuries, and that the supermajority of medical evacuations of military personnel from Iraq are not the result of enemy fire.

Disease, however, too is another native insurgency in which our military seems to have gained the upper hand:

An example of that success is the U.S. fight against leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease spread by sandflies that causes festering wounds and can attack the organs.

When the British army came to Iraq in the 1930s, leishmaniasis incapacitated up to 30 percent of the troops, said Lt. Col. Ray Dunton , a trained entomologist who's in Iraq serving as chief of preventive medicine for the 62nd Medical Brigade.

In 2004, hundreds of U.S. soldiers also were infected. Preventive medicine teams went into action, spraying insecticide and urging troops to use insect repellant. Infestations dropped from an average of 140 a month to nearly zero. Only 10 people have been diagnosed with leishmaniasis this year.

Informed of the situation, Harry Reid's staff is scrambling to issue a statement declaring the war against battlefield illnesses "lost."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:30 AM | Comments (11)

October 19, 2007

On Victory in Iraq

Thoughts from Greyhawk on the Iraq War, from 100 feet over Baghdad:

...I've been writing about Iraq here for four years now - in and out of country. I've been here during many of the most violent months of the war; from the second battle for Fallujah through the January, 2005 elections, and from the launch of the surge to the present - and I'm not homebound yet. In all that time progress has been achingly slow, and back steps have been mixed with forward - but never the majority. Throughout it all - until now - I've never declared victory, seen "light at the end of the tunnel", or even claimed to have "turned a corner" - you can take your bumper sticker slogans and shove 'em. Over here a tenacious and bloodthirsty enemy has fought a well-designed and multi-faceted campaign against us, perhaps secure in the knowledge that blame for every child they killed or each holy place they defiled would be shifted to us even as they washed the blood from their hands. Their efforts gained support from many quarters (not all of which were anticipated in preparation for or included in response to their actions) and condemnation from few. But the ranks of their opponents - at least here in Iraq - are large and still growing, and theirs are neither. The battles are diminishing but ongoing, losses will be suffered, and blood will still be shed. Still more of their supporters may redouble their efforts. But in short, while I recognize this will provoke immeasurable rage from those who feel we've lost, and consternation among those who know we've won but lack the fortitude to make the declaration at this point in time, I'll say it again: we've won the war in Iraq.
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:45 PM | Comments (11)

October 18, 2007

Iraqi Geezer: 1 Suicide Bomber: 0

Doing the jobs that Americans won't do...

A 72-year-old man stopped a suspected suicide bomber from detonating himself at a checkpoint in Arab Jabour Oct. 14.

The man approached a checkpoint where Mudhehr Fayadh Baresh was standing guard, but did not make it very far.

Baresh, a tribal commissioner and member of the Arab Jabour Concerned Citizens program, said he ordered the man to lift his shirt - using training received from Coalition Forces - when he did not recognize him as a local villager.

The suspect refused to lift his shirt. Baresh repeated the command again, and the suspect exposed his suicide vest, running toward the checkpoint.

Baresh opened fire which caused the vest to detonate, killing the suspect.

Rebecca Aquilar would presumably not approve.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:41 AM | Comments (4)

October 17, 2007

"Surge" Drawdown to Begin in December

Robert Burns of the Associated Press notes that the beginning of the end of the "surge" will begin in Iraq in December in Diyala province:

Commanders in Iraq have decided to begin the drawdown of U.S. forces in volatile Diyala province, marking a turning point in the U.S. military mission, The Associated Press has learned.

Instead of replacing the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division, which is returning to its home base at Fort Hood, Texas, in December, soldiers from another brigade in Salahuddin province next door will expand into Diyala, thereby broadening its area of responsibility, several officials said Tuesday.

In this way, the number of Army ground combat brigades in Iraq will fall from 20 to 19. This reflects President Bush's bid to begin reducing the American military force and shifting its role away from fighting the insurgency toward more support functions like training and advising Iraqi security forces.

The 3rd Brigade's area of operation will be added to the 4th Stryker Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division, and will provide something of a test-bed to see if Iraqi security forces really can "step up as we stand down."

American forces will still be ready to assist Iraqi police, 1920s (former insurgents) militiamen, and Iraqi Army units in this province that was the scene of a U.S. invasion just months ago. al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) had declared Diyala's capital of Baqubah their base, and had pledged a Fallujah-like defense that would extract heavy casualties from invading U.S. forces.

Instead, the 1920s turned on their former allies, and helped allied U.S. and Iraqi Army forces in Operation Arrowhead Ripper, an operation that saw more than 200 al Qaeda killed and more than 100 arrested. Baqauba and Diyala have had comparatively low levels of insurgent activity since Arrowhead Ripper completed August 19.

Only time will tell if Iraqi security forces (Iraqi Police, Iraqi Army, and 1920s militiamen) will be able to maintain the relative peace in the months ahead, which may be seen as a barometer of how effective "surge" operations have been in dislodging insurgents and terrorists from civilian populations.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:24 AM | Comments (4)

Bush "Surge" Wrecks Portion of Iraqi Economy

Women, children, and minorities not hardest hit.

I say it tongue firmly in cheek. The authors of the McClatchy article, however, seem quite sincere.

A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that's cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.

Few people have a better sense of the death rate in Iraq .

"I always think of the increasing and decreasing of the dead," said Sameer Shaaban, 23, one of more than 100 workers who specialize in ceremonially washing the corpses. "People want more and more money, and I am one of them, but most of the workers in this field don't talk frankly, because they wish for more coffins, to earn more and more."

I'll look forward for McClatchy's future article on the bleak jobs outlook for IED emplacers.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:27 AM | Comments (5)

October 16, 2007

Thanks For the History Lesson

I value the writers' service and their opinions as soldiers who have served in Iraq, but wouldn't this editorial have meant more if the Washington Post had managed to find soldiers to write it who had actually been in in Iraq in the last year?

Only two of the 12 captains had been in Iraq as late as 2006, with the rest all departing in 2005 or before. None of them are currently on active duty.

While their opinions are valuable from a historical perspective based upon what they've seen while they served, they hardly seem to be best qualified to be able to comment upon the current situation on the ground in Iraq, as it has changed so radically since the last of them departed.

Those officers who are serving in Iraq currently have quite a different opinion.

When is the Post going to ask them to pen an editorial?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:25 AM | Comments (152)

October 08, 2007

Sacrificing the Dead

Baghdadi Omar Fadhil of Iraq the Model has a very provocative editorial in WSJ's OpinionJournal this morning which points out a significant momentum shift in Iraq, what al Qaeda is attempting to do to counter this primarily on the media front, and what Mr. Fadhil suggests as a possible solution.

He begins:

The latest chapter in al Qaeda's war manual in their war against the Iraqi people and the Coalition is this: raiding remote peaceful villages, burning down homes and slaughtering both man and beast. It's a campaign of self destruction.

For about a year al Qaeda has been trying to build a so called Islamic State in Iraq. On several occasions al Qaeda has even declared parts of Baghdad or other places in other provinces the capital of this Islamic State.

But now that they are losing one base after another, their objective seems to have changed from adding more towns and villages to the "state" to destroying the very same towns and villages. Obviously, it's all about making headlines regardless of the means to do that.

Fahil's statement that al Qaeda has been pushed out of major cities into the countryside may seem shocking to many casual western readers, but that is precisely what has occurred over the past year at an ever-accelerating pace. While small terrorists cells cannot possibly be eliminated in major cities, most significant groups of al Qaeda terrorists have found themselves pushed out of Fallujah, Ramadi, Baquba, Baghdad, and other metropolitian areas, and strikes by the group--and perhaps more tellingly, coalition strikes on terrorist safe houses, caches, and bomb-building factories--are mostly now occurring in remote rural areas and small, out-of-the-way villages.

As the much-maligned Iraqi Army, Police, and local militia forces are taking over once-contested neighborhoods and towns, al Qaeda has no sustainable presence or large urban areas under their control. No longer holding any sizable territory, they have been reduced to dispersing out into rural areas, and they typically only come together in numbers to launch raids un lightly-defended targets.

It is during these times on raids of villages when al Qaeda elements are massed, and often overwhelm remote "villages" that may be little more than a few tribal compounds without nearby police stations or Iraqi Army garrisons to call to provide a defense. The groups of heavily armed al Qaeda terrorists typically overwhelm the residents of these rural communities quickly, and massacre them.

Fadhil makes two proposals to deal with the threat of al Qaeda assaults on these remote villages.

The first is to establish a national alarm system which would alert the nearest coalition forces that would help villagers get out the word that an attack is underway. The problem is that often times the locations under attack are so remote that coalition forces may not arrive until after the villagers have already been massacred, leaving a victorious al Qaeda standing alone, gloating over the bodies of the dead. It is during this dark time, where most or all friendly civilians are presumed dead and al Qaeda forces are concentrated, that Mr. Fadhil makes a bold suggestion:

But even then if the troops fail to arrive in time to intercept the attack, which would be truly sad, the long distance that al Qaeda fighters would have to travel to go back to their base would require them to lose precious time since they have to rely only on ground transport on mostly exposed terrain while the troops very often have the advantage of the much faster air transport.

In the worst case scenario what's left of a village if the attack is not intercepted would be only al Qaeda fighters and the remains of what used to be a village. Now isn't that the perfect target for the countless aggressive fire units of the U.S. military?

Now please let's put emotions aside for a while because this is war we're talking about and if sacrifices cannot be avoided we should make sure the enemy pays the heaviest price possible. If reaction is quick enough--and timing here is of crucial importance--the hunt would be great and the results would be spectacular.

Critics are sure to latch onto Fadhil's comment as an echo of a flustered Major Borris' infamous "We had to destroy Ben Tre in order to save it" description of the re-taking of Be Tre in 1968, but that would be a statement based in ignorance and sentimentality.

Without the people, there is no village, just a collection of bullet-pocked buildings amidst a massacre, where the only men left standing are terrorists, and perhaps a handful of hidden villagers. What Fadhil is advocating is the destruction of the concentrated al Qaeda force in the event that it becomes apparent that there are no villagers left. He advocates striking al Qaeda either as they escape, or in the village itself as a last resort.

The response he advocates may sound callous, but it is pragmatic. If several dozen terrorists can be identified in a given location after a village is destroyed, either while they are still in the village or are attempting to escape, all available coalition firepower should be brought to bear to wipe out the cell, if for no other reason than to keep them from surviving to carry out future attacks on other remote villages.

After a handful of such counterstrike missions are executed successfully and al Qaeda knows that each attack on a village is tantamount to a suicide mission, one has to wonder how many more they will be willing to carry out, and what options they would have remaining in a country increasingly out of their reach to control.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:33 AM | Comments (3)

October 05, 2007

Blimps of War

Yep, you read that right, and no, Rosie O Donnell didn't have a change of heart.

Via MNC-I Press Release.

KALSU, Iraq - A helium blimp provided Coalition Forces the viewpoint to see four insurgents responsible for a roadside bomb attack Sept. 30.

The camera located inside the AEROSTAT, a helium blimp used for aerial surveillance, allowed forces to identify the location of the men who attacked a Coalition convoy southeast of Iskandariyah.

"This engagement was tailor-made for the AEROSTAT," said 1st Lt. Vitaly Gelfgat of Princeton, N.J. "We saw the blast, found the insurgents responsible and then responded with the necessary force."

This was the second kinetic action that was initiated by AEROSTAT surveillance.

"The mission of the AEROSTAT is to monitor roads, impact areas, provide battle damage assessments and give constant aerial surveillance for defensive purposes," said Sgt. Reuben Carrington of Cabot, Ark.

This multi-million dollar blimp is equipped with a specialized camera that allows its user to see a full 360 degrees with distances ranging from 10 meters to several kilometers 24 hours a day.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:14 AM | Comments (4)

Madhi Army Martyrdom Successful

When a heavily-armed, air-supported U.S. Army unit comes to town, it is rarely in your best interests to fire on them unless entering the afterlife is your goal:

U.S. forces killed at least 25 members of a rogue Shiite militia in a heavy firefight early Friday, the military said.

The troops were targeting a militia commander believed to be associated with members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force and responsible for moving weapons from Iran into Baghdad, the military said.

A group of men opened fire on the U.S. soldiers with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, and at least one man was carrying what appeared to be an anti-aircraft weapon, the military said. Two buildings were destroyed and at least 25 people were killed in the ensuing battle.

U.S. aircraft repeatedly bombed the Shiite section of Khalis, about 50 miles north of Baghdad, according to an Iraqi army official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. At least 17 were killed, 27 were wounded and eight others were missing, he said.

You'll note that groups associated with Iran's Quds Force and their smuggling networks have been repeatedly hammered since the start of the "surge," and that as a result, attacks on coalition forces with EFPs have dropped significantly.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:08 AM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2007

VIDEO: Blackwater Chopper Evacs Polish Ambassador after IED Attack

Via LiveLeak.com, those are Blackwater USA personnel evacuating the wounded Polish ambassador to Iraq after his convoy was hit by at least two IEDs. Polish security guard, Bartosz Orzechowski and an unnamed Iraqi civilian died in the attack.

Blackwater didn't fire a shot during this mission, as shocking as that may be to some. It is one of at least 15,805 Blackwater USA missions where shots were not fired. I'm not justifying prior behavior, just attempting to point out the behavior that is more typical.

As for the atypical missions such as the recent disastrous shooting at Nisoor Square, Congress is taking steps to rectify deficiencies under current law that some argue makes private security contractors immune from prosecution.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:22 PM | Comments (3)

September 29, 2007

"Baiting Sniper" Found Not Guilty of Murder

Via a MNF-I press release:

A military panel found Sgt. Jorge Sandoval from Laredo, Texas, not guilty of murder Sept. 28.

Sandoval was found not guilty of murdering an unknown male April
27. He was also found not guilty of murdering an unknown male May 11;
placing an AK-47 rifle on the body and failing to ensure humane
treatment of the victim while he was being detained.

Sandoval was found guilty of placing command wire on the body of
the male victim on April 27.

The military panel will reconvene Sept. 29 for Sandoval's
sentencing. He can face between six months to five years in prison.

Some background here.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:29 AM | Comments (5)

September 27, 2007

Surrender

Based upon their statements in last night's Democratic Presidential debate, the leading candidates have surrendered the thought of a near-term military pullout from Iraq.

From the Associated Press:

The leading Democratic White House hopefuls conceded Wednesday night they cannot guarantee to pull all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the next presidential term in 2013. "I think it's hard to project four years from now," said Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois in the opening moments of a campaign debate in the nation's first primary state.

"It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting," added Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

"I cannot make that commitment," said former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.

Senator Christopher Dodd and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said that they would pull out American military forces if elected president, but with Richardson currently polling at only 3% and Dodd not even on the radar at 1%, what they feel, frankly, matters little.

As Bryan notes at Hot Air, "The netroots ain't gonna like this."

He's quite right, but at this point, they seem not to matter.

"Captain Ed" Morrissey gives General David Petraeus credit for shifting the debate over the war:

How far has General David Petraeus moved the debate on Iraq? His testimony on the surge, and the effects of the surge itself, has made it much more difficult for Democrats to argue for withdrawal and defeat...

[snip]

...Americans don't like to lose wars, and given the successes that Petraeus has generated, more Americans see an opportunity to persevere in Iraq. Leading Democrats realize now that running as the party of defeat when we continue to gain ground may sound good in the primaries, but will be disastrous in the general election.

What we may--and I caution, may--be witnessing here is a bursting of the progressive blogosphere's image of its influence over the rest of the Democratic Party.

I'm not stating by any stretch of the imagination that the entire online progressive community has been neutered as the result of a presidential primary debate that few American watched, but it should be sobering nonetheless for groups such as A.N.S.W.E.R., Code Pink, and others who have made their primary political issue the full, near-term withdrawal of American forces from Iraqi soil.

The three front-running Democratic candidates have said, in no uncertain terms, that they will not commit to a pull-out during the next presidency. The very vocal supporters of these groups have been told, in no uncertain terms, that the Democratic frontrunners do not think that their arguments are viable.

General Petraeus' Congressional testimony changed few minds on Iraq, but the testimony of men and women on the ground as to the effects of the "surge" seem to have created a groundswell of what may not be support for the war, but is certainly at least tolerance among the American people to give our military and the Iraqi people the chance to continue the campaign.

It was this tolerance and trust of our soldiers and the Iraqi people that anti-war types have tried since 2003 to undermine.

They've constantly played the refrain over and over again of Abu Ghraib and other atrocities large and small, inevitable failure, nefarious schemes and schemas, and unnecessary deaths that would only end, and could only end, if American forces turned tail and fled Iraq, to let it become a failed state. Worse, they often protrayed Iraqis themselves as a blood-lusting "other," that longs only for war and martyrdom, instead of stability, opportunity, and hope for their children.

But Iraqis love their children.

With the help of American sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines, Iraq's villagers and tribesmen have joined in their own grassroots efforts towards stabilizing Iraq, with both provincial Sunnis and Shias fighting back against terrorists, extremists, and criminals responsible for so much of the nation's violence. They do so by forming their own federally-recognized militias, the police and the Army, and joining a political process they once shunned. The small towns and villages are leading, and larger towns and national politicians seem to be slowly following their lead, even as outsiders from al Qaeda and Iran find Iraqi lands to be less hospitable and far more lethal than they once were.

When a terrorist car bomb decimates a tribal militia checkpoint guarding a village, and the townspeople rebuild and re-man the checkpoint even as the dead are being laid to rest, that makes a statement. When terrorists blow up a police recruiting center and potential recruits step into the footprints of those who have fallen before them, it makes a statement.

This is a budding grassroots effort that Americans watching the conflict are willing to get behind.

Clinton, Obama, and Edwards have grasped this truth.

The netroots, it seems, will take a while longer.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:48 AM | Comments (6)

September 21, 2007

Blackwatered Down

The New York Times has a very informative article up this morning by Sabrina Tavernise and James Glanz about the Blackwater/Nisour Sqaure shooting. The article focuses on the Iraqi government claim that Blackwater security contractors opened fire unprovoked on Iraqi civilians.

Iraq’s Ministry of Interior has concluded that employees of a private American security firm fired an unprovoked barrage in the shooting last Sunday in which at least eight Iraqis were killed and is proposing a radical reshaping of the way American diplomats and contractors here are protected.

In the first comprehensive account of the day’s events, the ministry said that security guards for Blackwater USA, a company that guards all senior American diplomats here, fired on Iraqis in their cars in midday traffic.

The document concludes that the dozens of foreign security companies here should be replaced by Iraqi companies, and that a law that has given the companies immunity for years be scrapped.

Four days after the shooting, American officials said they were still preparing their own forensic analysis of what happened in Nisour Square. They have repeatedly declined to give any details before their work is finished.

Privately, those officials have warned against drawing conclusions before American investigators have finished interviewing the Blackwater guards. In the Interior Ministry account — made available to The New York Times on Thursday — Iraqi investigators interviewed many witnesses but relied on the testimony of the people they considered to be the four most credible.

The account says that as soon as the guards took positions in four locations in the square, they began shooting south, killing a driver who had failed to heed a traffic policeman’s call to stop.

“The Blackwater company is considered 100 percent guilty through this investigation,” the report concludes.

The version of events told by Blackwater employees, some Iraqi eyewitnesses, and even the early Interior Ministry accounts, relays an entirely different story:

The ministry said the incident began around midday, when a convoy of sport utility vehicles came under fire from unidentified gunmen in the square. The men in the SUVs, described by witnesses as Westerners, returned fire, the ministry said.

Blackwater's employees were protecting a U.S. official when they were hit by "a large explosive device, then repeated small-arms fire -- and to the point where it disabled one of the vehicles, and the vehicle had to be towed out of the firefight," said Marty Strong, vice president of Blackwater USA.

A senior industry source said Blackwater guards had escorted a State Department group to a meeting with U.S. Agency for International Development officials in Mansour before the shootings.

A car bomb went off about 80 feet (25 meters) from the meeting site and the contractors started evacuating the State Department officials, he said. A State Department report on the attack said the convoy came under fire from an estimated eight to 10 people, some in Iraqi police uniforms.

The guards called for backup, at one point finding their escape route blocked by an Iraqi quick-reaction force that pointed heavy machine guns at one vehicle in the convoy. A U.S. Army force, backed by air cover, arrived about half an hour later to escort the convoy back to the Green Zone, the report states.

A team from another security company passed through the area shortly after the street battle.

"Our people saw a couple of cars destroyed," Carter Andress, CEO of American-Iraqi Solutions Groups, told CNN on Monday. "Dead bodies, wounded people being evacuated. The U.S. military had moved in and secured the area. It was not a good scene."

You'll note that the Interior Ministry's current claim has quietly dropped all mention of the convoy coming under fire, and of Blackwater employees returning fire instead of instigating it.

Nor does the version of events carried in the Times account for the more than one dozen other people killed or wounded in the square, and focuses on one family, in one car. A week into this story, we are no closer to any real answers about how the events transpired, who should shoulder the blame, or if the blame for civilian deaths should be shared between security contractors, insurgents, police and innocent mistakes by Iraqi civilians.

What we can comment on is the opportunism being displayed by many in this tragedy and the political rush to judgment by both government officials and pundits.

As the Jones Commission Report has made clear, the forensic capabilities of Iraqi police investigators are dubious, at best. As a result of their lack of training and equipment for forensic evidence gathering, processing, and analysis, "CSI Baghdad" is forced to rely heavily on eyewitnesses statements and personal observations of the investigators, which of course are prone to interpretation, biases, cognitive processing errors, etc. As we have radically different interpretations from the Iraqi government, Blackwater's spokespersons, and vastly different versions of events told by various eyewitnesses, it may very well be that we never precisely find out what happened shortly after noon this past Sunday in Nisour Square.

It may not matter.

Experts intimately familiar with the political terrain in Iraq have already stated that Blackwater's guilt was a foregone conclusion, as it is a valuable political tool for a battered Iraqi government.

Likewise, political pundits outside of Iraq, primarily opponents of the Iraq War, have used this latest incident to attack Blackwater in specific and security contractors in general for past offenses, and take for granted Blackwater's "obvious" guilt in this instance as well for political reasons of their own.

Why shouldn't they?

Public perception and political self-reinforcement have far exceeded any rational discussion of culpability in this case. Who is actually to blame for instigating the shootout and deaths at Nisour Square has become sadly irrelevant. Whether or not excessive force was used does not matter. Nor does it matter that despite the factually ignorant and frankly hysterical criticisms of some, security firms operating in Iraq are indeed susceptible to Iraqi law.

The truth of this matter has become a casualty to convenience.

Not that anyone cares.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:27 AM | Comments (76)

September 19, 2007

Shelf-Life: How Long Can a WMD-Armed SCUD Remain Fueled?

According to Janes Defence Weekly and carried in the Jerusalem Post, a Syrian SCUD-C missile exploded while being armed with a chemical warhead in late July, spreading a lethal mix of nearby WMDs. Dozens were killed:

Proof of cooperation between Iran and Syria in the proliferation and development of weapons of mass destruction was brought to light Monday in Jane's Defence Weekly, which reported that dozens of Iranian engineers and 15 Syrian officers were killed in a July 23 accident in Syria.

According to the report, cited by Channel 10, the joint Syrian-Iranian team was attempting to mount a chemical warhead on a Scud missile when the explosion occurred, spreading lethal chemical agents, including sarin nerve gas.

As you may imagine, other bloggers are tracking this story, and Ynet news adds detail, including that the specific warhead in question was loaded with mustard gas, and that the explosion started due to a fire in the Scud-C's engine.

Chemically and historically, most weaponized mustard gas weapons retain their lethality for decades, but I'd still like to know the answer to some questions about the missile's fuel system to gauge how much of a direct threat this was or wasn't to Israel and to American forces in Iraq.

SCUD-C missiles are single-stage liquid-fueled missiles. Obviously, an empty missile does not catch fire and explode with enough force to detonate surrounding materials. Therefore, this SCUD-C was obviously fueled. This leads to the following questions:

  • How are these missiles typically stored in peace-time Syria, full of liquid propellant, or empty?
  • Is there any sort of practical shelf-life to the liquid fuels used to power Syrian SCUD-C missiles?
  • Are they capable of being stored full of fuel for extended periods of time, or are they only fueled shortly before launch?

The mere act of mounting a mustard gas warhead on a missile does not necessarily mean that an attack is imminent, but if we knew more about how long a loaded Syrian SCUD-C can remain fueled, we might have a better idea just how serious of a threat this may have been.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:29 AM | Comments (18)

September 18, 2007

Wife of Downed Pilot Blasts Media/Terrorist Propaganda

As Rusty notes, the media largely ignores her.

Several of the local Arizona media outlets (AZ Family (NBC), KPNX, AZ Central) carried the story, but several other local media outlets including the local Fox News, CBS, and ABC affiliates did not.

No national media outlets have carried the story at all.

Her absolute moral authority apparently doesn't matter as much as that of some.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:40 PM | Comments (0)

Iraqi Insider: Blackwater Firestorm All About Internal Politics

I sent the following last night to a source intimately familiar with the Iraqi Interior Ministry:

...could the sudden [Iraqi government political] attack on Blackwater possibly be in retaliation for the "Jones Commission" report that panned the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior and advocated disbanding the national police?

...I would not be surprised if the backlash over Sunday's shooting was planned, and waiting for an event to pin it on.

I wanted to know if the situation with Blackwater "smelled."

His response:

Bob,

Blackwater doesn't smell: It's all about internal politics.

Bolani walks a thin line: he is a Shia without strong party
affiliations. He was the least objectionable Shia to a Sunni minority
who knew they'd never get one of their own into that Ministry.

Bolani is beholden to MNSTC-I/CPATT for supplies, training and money
-- but he also needs support in Parliament and among tribal leaders to
get things done (recruiting, intelligence and minimizing attacks on his
police officers as they try to establish peace).

By attacking Blackwater and standing up to the US over this, he gains
internal support for projects that the US can't help him with. He'll
eventually back down because he can't stay where he is without US
support, but he can't advance internal security without assistance
from other groups as well.

I predict this will end in a compromise: a few people will be fired,
Blackwater will ratchet down their posture a bit and the mission will
continue.

Related thoughts here.

Update: Bryan has an excellent roundup on this subject at Hot Air, and there is more about contractor licensing at the Washington Times

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:03 PM | Comments (2)

It's a Trap!

I've avoided commenting on the Blackwater story until this point because there simply wasn't enough detail on this specific incident.

It just got more interesting:

The ministry said the incident began around midday, when a convoy of sport utility vehicles came under fire from unidentified gunmen in the square. The men in the SUVs, described by witnesses as Westerners, returned fire, the ministry said.

Blackwater's employees were protecting a U.S. official when they were hit by "a large explosive device, then repeated small-arms fire -- and to the point where it disabled one of the vehicles, and the vehicle had to be towed out of the firefight," said Marty Strong, vice president of Blackwater USA.

A senior industry source said Blackwater guards had escorted a State Department group to a meeting with U.S. Agency for International Development officials in Mansour before the shootings.

A car bomb went off about 80 feet (25 meters) from the meeting site and the contractors started evacuating the State Department officials, he said. A State Department report on the attack said the convoy came under fire from an estimated eight to 10 people, some in Iraqi police uniforms.

The guards called for backup, at one point finding their escape route blocked by an Iraqi quick-reaction force that pointed heavy machine guns at one vehicle in the convoy. A U.S. Army force, backed by air cover, arrived about half an hour later to escort the convoy back to the Green Zone, the report states.

A team from another security company passed through the area shortly after the street battle.

"Our people saw a couple of cars destroyed," Carter Andress, CEO of American-Iraqi Solutions Groups, told CNN on Monday. "Dead bodies, wounded people being evacuated. The U.S. military had moved in and secured the area. It was not a good scene."

An Interior Ministry spokesman, Brig. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf, said, "We have revoked Blackwater's license to operate in Iraq. As of now they are not allowed to operate anywhere in the Republic of Iraq. The investigation is ongoing, and all those responsible for Sunday's killing will be referred to Iraqi justice."

According to the new details in this CNN story, the Blackwater contractors were evacuating State Department personnel after a car bomb explosion when they came under small arms fire from 8-10, including personnel in Iraqi police uniforms.

It is far, far too early to think that Blackwater's security detail in this incident are anything close to being cleared, but as at least some of the wounded are admittedly not civilians as mentioned in various accounts, and multiple witnesses describe an explosive device or devices starting the ambush, followed by small arms fire, which is a typical ambush tactic. It appears that this may not be an open-and-shut case of "contractors gone wild" as some have hastily opined.

It is worth noting that the Iraqi government response could be in retaliation for the "Jones Commission" report released just weeks ago, that panned the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior for corruption and advocated disbanding the national police. I confirmed with an Iraq War analyst last night that it was possible that the backlash over Sunday's shooting (not the shooting itself) was planned in advance in retaliation for the report.

He was not stating that the attack itself was orchestrated to get Blackwater compromised, just that MOI and al-Maliki's government may have had a contingency plan set up to take advantage of such a situation when it arose to wrangle concessions from the State Department, while possibly create some political breathing room for al-Maliki's embattled government coalition.

This very well may have been a political ambush designed to take advantage of the already foundering reputations of contractors in Iraq, and Blackwater may have been pre-targeted to take advantage of the fact that they are essential to State's security.

Update: Via email this morning from Bill Roggio of The Long War Journal:

  1. State uses Blackwater extensively, so this incident gives the Government of Iraq some leverage. I expect State to negotiate to get Blackwater back online, and it will happen.
  2. Maliki needs political cover, much like he did attacking the US for raids in Sadr City last year. In the end the raids didn't stop. And in the end I think BW will be in operation in Iraq after some wrangling.
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:01 AM | Comments (12)

September 12, 2007

U.S. Soldiers in Iraq Unload On Petraeus Testimony

Did I say "unload on?" I meant echoed:

At this wind-swept base near the Iranian border, the main points of Gen. David Petraeus' testimony to Congress were met with widespread agreement among soldiers: The American troop buildup is working, but the military needs more time.

Most of the soldiers at FOB Delta, some 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, were out on patrol or sleeping when Petraeus' comments were broadcast late Monday and Tuesday in Iraq.

But some heard it and others have read about it, and say they agree with their commander's assessment.

Staff Sgt. Matthew Nicholls of the 71st Medical Detachment, visiting FOB Delta from his post in southern Iraq to do an assessment, said the military still needs time to clean up mistakes made after the 2003 invasion, including the need to build an Iraqi army from scratch and to secure the borders.

"I think our initial assessment was too rosy," he said after reading about the hearings while sitting in the library at the recreation center. "It takes time to build an army and I think we should've secured the borders right away."

The 36-year-old from Mobile, Ala., also said American politicians need to be more understanding.

"They can be critical because they are politicians and their main goal is to be re-elected, but they see a much more limited piece than the troops on the ground," he said.

[snip]

Sgt. Nathaniel Killip, 24, of Indianapolis, caught part of the general's presentation on TV and said he agreed that withdrawing all U.S. troops or setting a date to do so before Iraqi security forces have proven themselves ready to take over would open the doors for insurgents to attack.

"They're just going to lay back and wait until it's a softer target," he said.

No doubt ad writers for MoveOn.org are desperately clawing through thesauri and dictionaries attempting to find synonyms for betrayal that rhyme with "Killip" and "Nicholls."

Off-Topic Update:Support citizen journalism. (hey, I only ask for donations one week a year... the other 51 weeks are free!)


Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:57 PM | Comments (18)

September 11, 2007









Remembering








Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:09 AM | Comments (1)

September 07, 2007

Name That Goon

Who...

  • ...claims that Democrats in Congress have failed to listen to the will of the American people to stop the Iraq War by surrendering?
  • ...claims that we're sacrificing the blood of American soldiers for the greed of corporations?
  • ...considers Noam Chomsky one of the West's greatest thinkers?
  • ...thinks that the news media are right-wing tools, loyal to an empire-hungry dictator?
  • ... still uses the worn-out "no blood for oil" argument?
  • ...blames America for global warming?
  • ...loathes capitalism, and thinks we are just pawns to a creeping globalism?

Select from:

  1. Keith Olbermann
  2. Osama bin Laden
  3. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
  4. all of the above

The correct answer is...

...that it's a shame you instinctly thought "D" without any hesitation at all.

Update: Socialist icon?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:57 PM | Comments (64)

Not the Least Bit Misleading

According to several news organizations, The Report of the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq, perhaps better known as the Jones Commission Report, states that Iraq's national police force is so broken that they should be disbanded and began over again from scratch.

So says the U.K's Times Online:

The Iraqi national police force is riddled with militia and corruption and should be disbanded, a panel of retired US military officers has told Congress.

The 20-member panel also said today that the Iraqi Army was incapable of acting independently from US forces for at least another 18 months, and "cannot yet meaningfully contribute to denying terrorists safe haven".

[snip]

The commission members, who spent three weeks in Iraq this summer and conducted 150 interviews, were most damning about the Iraqi national police. They said that its parent body, the Interior Ministry, was a ministry "in name only" and rife with sectarianism and corruption. The entire 26,000-member police force should be scrapped and rebuilt anew, they said.

Ann Scott Tyson and Glenn Kesler of WaPo echo a similar account:

Senior U.S. military commanders in Iraq rejected an independent commission's recommendation yesterday to disband the 25,000-strong Iraqi national police force, saying that despite sectarian influences the force is improving and that removing it would create dangerous security vacuums in key regions of the country.

Looking at these and other contemporary articles on the subject, a casual reader skimming the headlines would likely come away with the impression that we've got to fire all of Iraq's policemen and start over from scratch.

But what you would probably gather from these accounts is not a full and accurate representation of what the commission says [the report actually says far more, and covers the Iraqi military as well, but we're focusing on this one aspect for the moment]. I know, because I have a copy of the 152-page report in front of me right now.

The Jones Commission does advocate the disbanding of the 25,000-man Iraqi National Police, but what neither article mentioned is that the NP is the smallest element of the various police forces under the Ministry of the Interior.

The Commission states something quite different regarding the much larger and widespread Iraqi Police Service in their conclusion on page 108 of the report:

Conclusion: The Iraqi Police Service is incapable today of providing security at a level sufficient to protect Iraqi neighborhoods from insurgents and sectarian violence. The police are central to the long-term establishment of security in Iraq. Tbe be effective in combatting the threats that officers face, including sectarian violence, the Iraqi Police must be better trained and equipped. The Commission believes that the Iraqi Police Service can improve rapidly should the Ministry of the Interior become a more functional institution.

There are more than 200,000 civilian personnel in the Iraqi security services, and the commission indicates that the biggest problem for the bulk of those police officers in the Iraqi Police Service is that they undertrained and under-equipped. Tehy also state that if they received the training and material support they need, they are expected to improve rapidly.

Funny how the media reports forget to mention that on page 102, the Commission notes that in 2004, the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team requested funding for 6,000 police advisors to train a force of 135,000, and that Congress only approved funds for 1,000 advisors. Today, the Iraqi police have over 230,000 officers, and only 900 international police advisors and roughly 3,500 military personnel filling these necessary advisory roles.

Harry Reid and the Democrats keep shrieking that it is time for a "change of course" in Iraq.

Perhaps they could start by providing the police with the funding for the advisors they need, which by the way, is another Commission recommendation that you won't hear too many Democrats repeating.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:30 AM | Comments (4)

September 06, 2007

New Major Offensive in Northern Iraq Underway: Media Caught Flat-Footed?

They're calling it, "Lightning Hammer II," and it seeks to build on the gains made in pushing al Qaeda out of Baquba and surrounding areas in Diyala Province.

About 14,000 Iraqi security forces stationed throughout Nineveh province and 12,000 U.S. soldiers are conducting the operation, which started Wednesday evening.

The military said the operation "follows Lightning Hammer I ... to deny al Qaeda safe haven in the provinces" of Salaheddin, Nineveh, Diyala, and Kirkuk.

The military said the original Operation Lightning Hammer -- August 13 to September 1 -- ousted militants from the Diyala River valley, northeast of Baquba, the capital of Diyala province.

"Al Qaeda cells were driven from Baquba in Diyala due to Operation Arrowhead Ripper in June and July and then pursued in the Diyala River valley during Operation Lighting Hammer in August," Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of Task Force Lightning and Multinational Division-North.

I'd tell you more, but right now, there doesn't seem to be a lot more to tell. As of this particular moment, CNN seems to have the only account of this 26,000-man offensive in northern Iraq, and I'm unable to find any story related to a new Iraqi offensive on Google News.

Now, it could very well be that there are reporters and photographers embedded with those units taking part in the offensive that simply haven't had time or opportunity to file reports, but it is a matter of record that the wire service and larger individual news organizations largely missed out on the start of Lightning Hammer I in Diyala Province, and once the operation was underway, they only entered the battlespace very briefly--some literally staying just hours--before helicoptering back to Baghdad.

If America wonders why we get so little good news coming out of Iraq, they might want to consider that at least part of that reason is because news organizations aren't where the news is occuring.

Update: CNN seems to be merely reporting highlights of the military press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE RELEASE No. 20070906-05 September 6, 2007

Operation Lightning Hammer II expands pursuit of al-Qaeda Multi-National
Division - North PAO

TIKRIT, Iraq - Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition Forces continued
their relentless pursuit of al-Qaeda in northern Iraq by launching
Operation Lightning Hammer II, Wednesday evening.

The operation, involving approximately 14,000 ISF, partnered
with more than 12,000 CF, is spearheaded by Soldiers from the 4th
Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, partnered with members of the
2nd and 3rd Iraqi Army Divisions, and Iraqi Police forces stationed
throughout Ninewa province.

In addition to the thousands of Soldiers and their ISF
counterparts participating in Lightning Hammer II, attack helicopters,
close-air support, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, Stryker Vehicles and tanks
compliment the combined effort. This operation follows Lightning Hammer
I in the series of offensives to deny al-Qaeda safe haven in the
provinces of Salah ad Din, Ninewa, Diyala and Kirkuk. Operation
Lightning Hammer I, from Aug. 13 to Sept. 1, succeeded in driving enemy
elements out of the Diyala River Valley, northeast of Baqouba.

"Al-Qaeda cells were driven from Baqouba in Diyala due to
Operation Arrowhead Ripper in June and July and then pursued in the
Diyala River Valley during Operation Lighting Hammer in August," said
Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of Task Force Lightning and
Multinational Division-North. "Our main goal with Lightning Hammer II is
to continue to pursue and apply constant pressure to the terrorist cells
operating in MND-N, and destroy them where they attempt to hide."

"Our combined forces' commitment to hunt al Qaeda and its
operatives remains as strong as ever," said Mixon. "We will not rest
until al Qaeda in Iraq is driven from northern Iraq, and Iraqi citizens
have a safe and secure homeland."

I'll see if I can make contact with PAO covering this operation and provide more information as it becomes available.

Update: I checked in with the Task Force Lightning PAO, and he told me that there are a total of 11 embedded journalists in Northern Iraq. A grand total of one is from a major wire service, and five of them are in Diyala. The remaining northern provinces of Ninewa, Salah Ad Din, and Kirkuk have a total of two embedded journalists each.

How many of them are actually covering operations related to Operation Lightning Hammer II is unknown.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:59 AM | Comments (5)

September 05, 2007

AQ Bomb Plot Against American Targets in Germany Foiled

On CNN:

Three terror suspects held in Germany planned to carry out "imminent" and "massive" bombs attacks on a U.S. air base and Frankfurt's international airport, according to prosecutors.

The suspects, two Germans aged 22 and 29 and a 29-year-old Turk, received terrorist training in Pakistan and had close ties to al Qaeda, according to Jorg Ziercke, president of Germany's Federal Criminal Investigation Office.

Ziercke said the group was united by a "hatred against American citizens" as it planned attacks against Frankfurt airport, a popular international travel hub, and Ramstein air base, a major transit point for the U.S. military into the Middle East and Central Asia.

The group had amassed 680 kg (1,500 pounds) of hydrogen peroxide to make bombs, German federal prosecutor Monika Harms told reporters on Wednesday.

Harms said the three suspects also planned to attack bars and restaurants popular with Americans.

She said the planned attacks would have been among the biggest yet on German soil. Possible scenarios would have been car bombings used in simultaneous attacks.

Officials said the hydrogen peroxide could have produced a bomb with the explosive power of 540 kg of TNT.

The article goes on to speculate that the attacks could have been planned to have occurred on September 11.

The bombers were clearly attempting to build triacetone triperoxide (TATP) bombs, a favorite of terrorists that nevertheless often fails because of its instability. Occasionally it explodes during the production/bomb preparation steps, and other times, an improper mix leads to a bomb that either burns instead of detonating, or fails to ignite at all.

Frankly, until we know more about them and learn about their amassed equipment and technical know-how, I'm going to be quite skeptical that they could have manufactured high-grade TATP in quantities sufficient to build successful bombs of the size this report suggests. I may very well be wrong, but after the failures of the second London bombers, and the Glasgow bombers, I have very little faith in the competence of the surviving al Qaeda bomb builders remaining in Pakistan and Afghanistan who train terrorists such as these.

Update: I just contacted Yassin Musharbash, one of the two Spiegel reporters who have written the definitive post on this terrorist event thus far (h/t: Hot Air, which has an excellent round-up, as always).

He has confirmed my earlier hunch that triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, was the specfic peroxide-based explosive that these suspected terrorists were planning to use. This was the same kind of explosive used successfully in the 7/7 London tube bombings, and then fizzled in similar attacks just two weeks later on 7/21.

Pajamas Media is following the story as well.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:26 AM | Comments (10)

September 02, 2007

I Love the Smell of Daily Kos in the Morning

It smells like... well, you know what it smells like if you've ever been on a cattle ranch:

I have a friend who is an LSO on a carrier attack group that is planning and staging a strike group deployment into the Gulf of Hormuz. (LSO: Landing Signal Officer- she directs carrier aircraft while landing) She told me we are going to attack Iran. She said that all the Air Operation Planning and Asset Tasking are finished. That means that all the targets have been chosen, prioritized, and tasked to specific aircraft, bases, carriers, missile cruisers and so forth.

I asked her why she is telling me this.

Her answer was really amazing.

By all means, please go over and read Maccabee's post. When you do, see if you can spot what appears to be wrong with the story, and then check your answers against mine. Who knows? You might just catch a few things I've missed.

Let me share with you what I found that has that post-digestive bovine aroma.

  • Maccabee's buddy claims:
    She started in the Marines and after 8 years her term was up. She had served on a smaller Marine carrier, and found out through a friend knew there was an opening for a junior grade LSO in a training position on a supercarrier. She used the reference and the information and applied for a transfer to the United States Navy. Since she had experience landing F-18Cs and Cobra Gunships, and an unblemished combat record, she was ratcheted into the job, successfully changing from the Marines to the Navy.
    That's a damn interesting trick, as the only non-supercarrier "smaller carriers" I'm aware of are the Tarawa-class and Wasp-class amphibious assault ships. Funny thing about the LHA and LHD classes of ships... they have very small flight decks, and are completely unsuitable for any aircraft that require arresting gear to land. As a matter of fact, they don't have arresting gear at all, and cannot land F/A-18Cs or any other fighters other than AV-B Harrier VSTOLs as a result. F/A18Cs only operate from land or U.S. Navy supercarriers. Somebody's making things up.
  • But it gets even better. The LSO also claims:
    I asked her about the attack, how limited and so forth.

    "I don’t think it’s limited at all. We are shipping in and assigning every damn Tomahawk we have in inventory. I think this is going to be massive and sudden, like thousands of targets.

    Now, can someone please tell me how a junior LSO--by definition, a junior grade officer on an aircraft carrier assigned to landing aircraft as her specialty--would know anything at all about how other ships are being armed? Supercarriers, to the best of my knowledge do not carry Tomahawks, which are cruise missiles fired directly from other Navy ships, and niehter stored nor fired from carriers. Such a junior officer, so far removed from munitions work, would simply not be in a position to have this knowledge.

I'm sure Navy veterans can probably pick out more improbabilities in this "LSO Beauchamp" story, but that is what I've found so far.

Macranger states that the conversation Maccabee related from the LSO would be treason if true. Luckily for Maccabee, I don't think that they have yet found a way to give imaginary friends the life sentences or death sentences that real treason requires.

Update: Kind of a "duh," moment, but as Yardbird notes in the comments, that these ships can't launch F/A-18s either, because they aren't equipped with catapults.

Real Navy fighter pilot Lex finishes off this liar here, noting that you can't become an LSO without first being a pilot.

Update: Breaking nunaim's heart, Kos calls his fellow lefties to task.

Update: Fabulist to the end, Maccabee blames her imaginary friend when caught, and then deletes the entry.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:31 PM | Comments (111)

August 29, 2007

Greetings From Mudville

A little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Greyhawk posts his latest from Baghdad in the Mudville Gazzette.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2007

Video: Kidnap Victim Rescued in Baghdad

The elated outburst from the family when the terp lets them know that he victim is alive is touching.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:37 PM | Comments (1)

August 26, 2007

In Ramadi, Hope Comes in Little Things

Like new glass.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:36 AM | Comments (2)

August 02, 2007

Vacation destination: Iraq / FOB Falcon

During discussions and posting covering the Scott Thomas Beauchamp diaries Milblogger Laughing Wolf, posting at Blackfive, issued a challenge to Columbia Journalism Review's Paul McLeary.

Since there are some profound and troubling issues that remain, let me make an offer. This fat ol' crip is willing to take a leave of absence, or quit my day job if necessary, to take a trip to embed with the troops. As part of that journey, let's you and I go visit the unit in question, and let the people there tell you the problem with the message. Let's visit a few other milbloggers while we are at it, maybe a few other bloggers period, and see if they can help. I'm willing to put it all on the line right now, especially if the money could be raised to cover the process via PMI, and to ensure I still had a lair to which to return. How about it, are you and CJR willing to put your money where your mouth is? I'm willing to put my body and what meager funds I have on the line for this. How about you?
[emphasis mine]

Just four days after issuing the challenge Laughing Wolf has his response. Its game on.

A few days ago, I issued a challenge to Paul McLeary and CJR, and Paul has accepted that challenge. As he notes here and in the e-mail exchanges, he stepped in it, which is something with which I think we can all empathize. Our discussions have been interesting, thoughtful, and fruitful.

The result is that we are working together with PMI to go to Iraq and FOB Falcon. Our mutual goal is to go see the reality on the ground, find out what the troops think on the issue of Bleu Beau, blogs, blogging, and a number of other subjects.

In addition to what is done with Paul, I am looking to embed with a Marine unit while there after our time at FOB Falcon.

We do not yet know how much, if any, support will come from CJR. Therefore, we are looking for funding, and I am looking for your help to send me to Iraq. More than that, I see this as an opportunity to try and make it easier for the next trip by getting some additional resources to PMI.

As he said, Laughing Wolf's vacation to the Middle East isn't going to be a cheap trip. LW is going about it the right way in that he's not only trying to fund his trip, but by building up the resources / equipment available to PMI he's hoping to make it easier for other bloggers to embed.

So please, give what you can.
Donations though PMI (tax deductible) can be made here. Just be sure to note they are For LW Embed.

Donations to help offset his personal costs, really it isn't going to be cheap, can also be made on Laughing Wolf's personal site (on the right sidebar, both paypal and amazon).

On a personal note, I'm honored to count LW as one of the few friends I've made through blogging and can't adequately put into words how proud I am of him.

Posted by phin at 08:56 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2007

Errata

Wait a minute... This can't be right, can it?

...Senate Republicans pushed through a nonbinding resolution stating that "precipitous withdrawal" from Iraq would "create a safe haven for Islamic radicals, including Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, who are determined to attack the United States and (U.S.) allies." The vote was 94-3.

Last I checked, there are right around 100 Senators, total.

If the Politico is accurate in their overwhelming vote count of 94-3, then this strongly suggests that a supermajority of Democrat Senators are admitting that the withdraw plan they clamor for will result in creating "a safe haven for Islamic radicals, including Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, who are determined to attack the United States and (U.S.) allies," and they still favor it.

Please tell me why these Democrat Senators will admit that they support a plan that they believe will encourage terrorism?

This telling vote was pulled from an article about how Republicans are rallying around the President and are attempting to surge in support of the surge, even as grandstanding Democrats plan to hold a sleepover in protest, no doubt telling themselves for the hundredth time that the war is lost in an effort to make that sentiment a reality.

Interestingly enough, as Senate Democrats "rough it" for the cameras on hotel-quality rolling beds, men who would consider such "hardships" a luxury are telling quite a different story.

Max Boot notes the dramatic turnaround in al Anbar Province, and posts a letter from a U.S. Army Colonel in Ramadi stating precisely how much things have changed.

General Peter Pace, the out-going chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff more-or-less dumped by an un-supportive Bush Administration, has few political reasons to help Bush, and yet, he says things like this:

After conferring with Maj. Gen. Walter Gaskin and other commanders in this provincial capital west of Baghdad, Pace told reporters he has gathered a positive picture of the security environment not only here but also in Baghdad, where he began his Iraq visit on Monday.

He was asked whether this would inform his thinking about whether to continue the current strategy, with extra U.S. troops battling to secure Baghdad and Anbar province.

"It will because what I'm hearing now is a sea change that is taking place in many places here," he replied. "It's no longer a matter of pushing Al Qaeda out of Ramadi, for example, but rather — now that they have been pushed out — helping the local police and the local army have a chance to get their feet on the ground and set up their systems."

Pace said earlier in Baghdad that the U.S. military is continuing various options for Iraq, including an even bigger troop buildup if President Bush thinks his "surge" strategy needs a further boost.

Interestingly enough, the military's consideration for increasing troop numbers because of the success of the surge thus far, comes just one day after Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon said that if the success of the surge continues in his area of responsibility, then the number of troops he requires may be halved.

Some folks seem to think this is a contradiction, but that simply shows that they don't understand how counterinsurgency operations are being run.

As some areas see a significant long-term turn-around, the communities they are in stabilize, begin to normalize, and have less need of a large number of combat forces. This is what Mixon was relating.

Because the new counterinsurgency strategy is showing significant signs of progress in many areas where it is being implemented--Pace called it a "sea change," remember?--the Democrat Congress and Senate are increasingly desperate to lose the war while they still can (see the overnight loserpalooza engineered by Senate Democrats tonight as a prime example of this). Should they fail to lose and Iraq emerge as some sort of even moderately successful representative government, they'll lose their foreign policy credibility for decades to come.

Knowing the sharp knives aimed at their backs and feeling a successful strategy is well within their grasp, it is quite logical that some military general officers may desire to expand the counterinsurgency operations to many other areas of Iraq perhaps faster than they otherwise might in order to satisfy a politically-craven call for an arbitrary withdrawal date.

Because of these realities, these seemingly (but not really) contradictory things could happen at the same time. While troop strength could lessen and perhaps even halve in areas where the counterinsurgency has matured, there could be a significant push to expand the "surge," requiring an influx of troops overall.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:18 AM | Comments (46)

July 16, 2007

Definitive Surge Progress Could Lead to Troop Reductions

The Coalition counterinsurgency strategy dubbed the "surge" has been so successful that U.S. soldiers in one part of Iraq could be halved by January, 2008:

Now at full strength, the U.S. troop surge in Iraq is showing "definitive progress" and the number of forces serving in Iraq’s Multi-National Division-North could be halved by summer 2009, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon said.

A reduction of U.S. forces under the general's command could begin as early as January 2008, he told Pentagon reporters via videoconference.

Mixon, commander of both Multi-National Division-North and the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry Division, is responsible for six Iraqi provinces in northern Iraq, including the city of Baqubah -- site of the ongoing Operation Arrowhead Ripper.

He said he has given U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, commander, Multi-National Corps-Iraq, a plan indicating a possible reduction of force in Multi-National Division-North during 2008.

Mixon said the current debate over troop withdrawal should revolve around reaching a strategic "end state."

"It seems to me that we should first decide what we want the end state to be in Iraq, and how is that end state important to the United States of America, to this region and to the world, and then determine how we can reach that end state, and how much time that will take," he said. "To me, that seems to be the most important thing, because there will be consequences of a rapid withdrawal from Iraq."

"It cannot be a strategy based on, 'Well, we need to leave,'" he added. "That's not a strategy, that’s a withdrawal."

But, doesn't the General know that the new Pelosi-led Congress and Reid-led Senate--deliberative bodies with roughly as many major legislative accomplishments as the Iraqi Parliament they criticize--are far better judges of success or failure in Iraq than the officers and soldiers actually waging the war?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:26 AM | Comments (42)

July 15, 2007

Iranian Rockets Recovered In Iraq [with Photos]

Via MNF-I:

After several rockets hit FOB Hammer on July 11, the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team maneuvered to find the source of the attack. Early on July 12, the 3rd HBCT’s unmanned aerial vehicle located 46 rocket launchers in the northern section of Besmaya Range Complex aimed at FOB Hammer. Thirty-four of the launchers were armed with Iranian 107mm rockets. The Besmaya Range Complex is adjacent to the Coalition Force base. Soldiers of the 789th Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, currently attached to the 3rd HBCT, immediately responded to the site. According to Capt. Justin Gerken, from Red Wing, Minn., commander of the 789th EOD team, 12 of the 46 rockets had already been used to attack FOB Hammer the day prior. EOD Soldiers were able to determine that the rockets originated from Iran after analyzing the unexploded ordnance. The 789th EOD team was successful in neutralizing the remaining rockets.

That press release went up yesterday. I got copies of the photographs documenting the scene from MNF-I PAO this morning.

DSC00089
Iranian 107mm rocket captured while aimed at U.S. FOB Hammer in Iraq. (click photo for full size).


DSC00084
U.S. Army EOD securing Iranian 107mm rockets and launchers captured in Iraq. (click photo for full size).


IMG_0023
Unfired Iranian 107mm rockets recovered after attack on U.S. FOB Hammer in Iraq. (click photo for full size).

Update: Some seem to expect these rockets and previously-captured Iranian munitions to be marked with some sort of "Iranian" language markings, whether Farsi or Persian or some other regional language.

The fact of the matter is that many countries, including Iran, use English language markings on some or all of their military ordnance, and Iran even has an English-language web site for exporting these and other military munitions.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:33 AM | Comments (32)

July 14, 2007

Anti-Bush Terrorist Convicted

It's pathetic how far BDS will lead some people.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:31 AM | Comments (32)

July 12, 2007

Harry Reid's Attemped Dodge

ABC's Jake Tapper attempted to get Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to answer a simple question: Will Iraq be safer for Iraqi civilians if we pull out?

He spins, he twists, he dives, but Harry Reid refuses to answer the question.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:47 PM | Comments (9)

July 11, 2007

Murtha's "In Cold Blood" Slur Fails to Impress Marine Hearing Officer

In November of 2005, Democrat John Murtha (Okinawa), accused American Marines of cold-blooded murder:

A US lawmaker and former Marine colonel accused US Marines of killing innocent Iraqi civilians after a Marine comrade had been killed by a roadside bomb.

"Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood," John Murtha told reporters. The November 19 incident occurred in Haditha, Iraq.

Today, a Marine hearing officer said that charges against the first Marine coming to trial should be dropped:

The government's case against a Marine accused of fatally shooting Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha lacks sufficient evidence to go to a court-martial and should be dropped, a hearing officer determined.

The murder charges were brought against Lance Cpl. Justin L. Sharratt for killing three Iraqi brothers in November 2005.

The hearing officer, Lt. Col. Paul Ware, wrote in a report released by the defense Tuesday that those charges were based on unreliable witness accounts, insupportable forensic evidence and questionable legal theories. He also wrote that the case could have dangerous consequences on the battlefield, where soldiers might hesitate during critical moments when facing an enemy.

"The government version is unsupported by independent evidence," Ware wrote in the 18-page report. "To believe the government version of facts is to disregard clear and convincing evidence to the contrary."

A final decision on whether or not to drop the case will be made by Lt. Gen. James Mattis.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:49 AM | Comments (21)

July 05, 2007

Muslim Doctors Discussed Florida Terror Strike?

Considering this is the Telegraph, I'd take this claim with a grain of salt:

One message read: "We are 45 doctors and we are determined to undertake jihad and take the battle inside America.

"The first target which will be penetrated by nine brothers is the naval base which gives shelter to the ship Kennedy." This is thought to have been a reference to the USS John F Kennedy, which is often at Mayport Naval Base in Jacksonville, Florida.

The message discussed targets at the base, adding: "These are clubs for naked women which are opposite the First and Third units."

It also referred to using six Chevrolet GT vehicles and three fishing boats and blowing up petrol tanks with rocket propelled grenades.

I haven't been to Mayport in years, but I rather suspect that the method of attack described above would have been repulsed well shy of their stated military targets.

As for the strip clubs... well, they are certainly a much softer targets than a military base and I suppose they could have killed or wounded many people if they had competently been able to carry out an attack.

If there is anything to this story, I expect that we'll see the arrest of any suspects here in the United States very soon.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:23 AM | Comments (2)

July 03, 2007

CNN: We Suck At Building Car Bombs, Too

In an effort to show what the failed FAE car bombs in London and Glasgow could have done, CNN commissioned explosives experts at New Mexico Tech to build and detonate a similar device.

Unfortunately for CNN, they made it a little too much like the failed jihadi's device.

Note when you watch this David Mattingly report that at about 1:21, the expert says, "what will happen is that this entire car will turn into shrapnel."

Eh, not so much.

After a long-winded set-up, they finally detonate the car bomb in front of a hastily-constructed wood-framed structure no more than 10 feet--perhaps the width of a parking space--away from the blast.

Mattingly's audio at around 3:34 is priceless:

Watch in slow motion as the car is blown to pieces."

Well, the back and side glass blew out, and the windshield spider-webbed and the drivers door was flung open, but as the video clearly shows, this was not successful car bomb. the Jeep was not "blown to pieces" as Mattingly claimed, nor was the expert's claim "that this entire car will turn into shrapnel" even remotely true. If this had been a successful FAE explosion, that wooden building would have been flattened and scattered like matchsticks, along with the Jeep.

The expert even admits, "casualties would probably be fire victims."

Why? Because the bomb burned, and created a small blast, but utterly failed as a a fuel-air explosive bomb.

I was amused to watch Mattingly shift gears post-blast, and explain that if this device had gone off outside of a London club, "fire could have claimed many lives." Well, yeah, providing the nightclub didn't have any other doors, or a sprinkler system.

But the kicker was watching him walk approximately 30 feet to the rear of the vehicle to pick up a nut that dribbled that far from the blast, and try to explain that it could have caused casualties. Well, I suppose it could have, but considering my seven-year old daughter can chuck one equally as far, I doubt the damage would have been that severe.

For comparative purposes, here is a video clip of a much smaller successful fuel-air explosive detonation from Futureweapons.

As you can plainly see, the blasts aren't even remotely similar in effect.

In the CNN video, the only apparent ejection of any material with any force was one of the propane tanks they claim was ejected 150 yards. Interestingly enough, I didn't see that tank ejected in any of the blast video angles show above. Did any of you catch it?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:31 AM | Comments (22)

These Are Not the Droids You're Looking For

Via a previous request to Multi-National Corps-Iraq, a picture of Iranian-manufactured TNT (top) and C4 (bottom) explosives captured in Iraq by coalition forces (click image for larger version).

explosives_2

U.S. EOD says a chemical analysis of these explosives matches those of known Iranian explosives. Because this analysis comes from explosives experts that are both (a) American, and (b) military; Glenn Greenwald is sure to allege they were actually manufactured by Halliburton in the White House basement over the weekend.

In related news, a senior Hezbollah officer working for his Iranian terror masters was captured in Basra and is singing like a bird, implicating Iranian involvement in the sophisticated January Karbala raid that left five U.S. solders dead.

Jules Crittenden separates the wheat from the chafe in the Times story, that seems to have received some "editorial help" back in New York before publication.

Update: As commenter "BohicaTwentyTwo" notes in the comments, if the explosives above are supposed to look like American munitions, they miss the mark widely.

Here is a picture of an actual M112 charge (PDF).

m112

I don't think that Iran was seriously attempting to mimic U.S. charges (U.S. charges are marked with taggants, signature trace elements that determine not just the country of origin, but also the company). I think that they were perhaps just trying to muddy the waters enough so that a generalist media could avoid looking at the evidence too hard, while allowing apologists to deny that these were Iranian charges because they were printed in English instead of Persian.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:33 AM | Comments (17)

July 02, 2007

Bless the Beasts and Children

I'll never understand why the media in Iraq finds it necessary to run poorly-sourced, suspect reports of false atrocities, when real ones are so easy to find.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:14 AM | Comments (11)

June 30, 2007

DeCapiGate

The Associated Press, Reuters, and a small Iraqi Independent news agency called Voice of Iraq released stories Thursday about the massacre of 20 men near Salman Pak, who were supposedly found decapitated on the banks of the Tigris River.

But something seemed inherently wrong with the accounts I read from the Associated Press. The only two sources for the Associated Press article were anonymous police, not located in Salman Pak, but from Baghdad (more than dozen miles away) and Kut (more than 75 miles away).

Because of this odd sourcing, I asked Multi-National Corps-Iraq and the PAO liaison to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior to investigate.

I published their preliminary findings as they came out in Bring Me The Head of Kim Gamel.

This morning, MNF-I PAO published an official denunciation of this story:

June 30, 2007 Release A070630c

Extremists using false media reporting to incite sectarian violence

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Friday, news media reported a mass killing in a village near Salman Pak where 20 men were allegedly found beheaded. It now appears that the story was completely false and fabricated by unknown sources.

Upon learning of the press reports, coalition and Iraqi officials began investigating to determine if the reports were true. Ultimately it was concluded the reports were false.

Anti-Iraqi Forces are known for purposely providing false information to the media to incite violence and revenge killings, and they may well have been the source of this misinformation.

“Extremists promote falsehoods of mass killings, collateral damage and other violence specifically to turn Iraqis against other Iraqis,” said Rear Admiral Mark Fox, spokesperson for MNF-I. “Unfortunately, lies are much easier to state, the truth often takes time to prove,” said Fox.

Not all media reports can be immediately substantiated by Government of Iraq or Coalition Forces. They must go through a process to verify such claims, to include checking with various Iraqi Ministry’s, local police and security forces. Meanwhile, extremists have achieved their goal of spreading false information aimed at intimidating civilians and destabilizing Iraqi security.

Ultimately, media reporting based on verifiable sources will reduce the possibility of misinformation unnecessarily alarming citizens.

The Associated Press, Reuters, and Voices of Iraq should immediately apologize for publishing this completely false story, and push for immediate retractions. The Associated Press should admit full responsibility for not following good journalistic practices of verifying a story though legitimate responsible sources, as they were in a headlong, reckless rush to publish.

Update: Something somewhat related, from StrategyPage:

...the Japanese psychological warfare effort during World War II included radio broadcasts that could be picked up by American troops. Popular music was played, but the commentary (by one of several English speaking Japanese women) always hammered away on the same points;
  1. Your President (Franklin D Roosevelt) is lying to you.
  2. This war is illegal.
  3. You cannot win the war.

The troops are perplexed and somewhat amused that their own media is now sending out this message.

(Thank Ace for the title of this post)

Update: AFP is now carrying the story.

The US military accused the international media on Saturday of exacerbating Iraq's violent tensions by reporting false claims of massacres which it said were deliberately fabricated by extremist groups.

This week several newspapers and agencies reported that Iraqi police had found 20 beheaded corpses in Salman Pak, just south of Baghdad.

AFP did not carry the report after its sources were unable to confirm the rumour.

Wouldn't it be nice if the Associated Press had those same standards?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:23 AM | Comments (33)

June 29, 2007

Car Bomb Discovered in London

Luckily, alert paramedics called to a nightclub to attend a sick patron alerted police to a smoking car, who were able to diffuse it on scene.

The Guardian has the details:

A bomb made from gas cylinders, petrol and nails was found in an abandoned car in central London today, sparking a major terrorism alert. Peter Clarke, the Scotland Yard head of counter-terrorism, said the device, discovered in Haymarket - one of the capital's main nightlife districts - could have killed or injured many people.

"Even at this stage, it is obvious that, if the device had detonated, there could have been serious injury or loss of life," he said. "It was busy, and many people were leaving nightclubs."

Mr Clarke added that police had gathered CCTV evidence, but said it was too early to speculate about who could have been responsible.

[snip]

Mr Clarke said experts called to the scene found "significant quantities of petrol, together with a number of gas cylinders". "I cannot tell you how much petrol was in the car as we have not had a chance to measure, it but there were several large containers," he added.

Earlier, witnesses said they saw the light metallic green saloon car being driven erratically. It then crashed into bins before the driver ran away.

Police are searching landmark sites across London for further explosive devices, and are unsure whether the bomb was a lone device or one of several deployed across the capital. No warnings were received.

The attempted bombing in one of London's busiest districts is the first major challenge for Gordon Brown, who just succeeded Tony Blair as Britain's Prime Minister.

At this time, police have not associated the bomb with any specific group.

Closed-circuit security cameras posted in the area may have captured images of the bomber. Unverified witness accounts state that the vehicle had been driven erratically before crashing into trash bins, at which point the driver abandoned the vehicle on foot.

Because the vehicle crashed, I'm not certain that we can assume that the location the vehicle was found was the original target. If the eyewitnesses are correct--and we know that sometimes, eyewitness accounts can be contradictory--it sounds as if the bomb may have begun smoldering, causing the driver to panic, crash, and flee the scene.

I'm sure we'll know more as this story develops.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:23 AM | Comments (60)

June 27, 2007

Quietly Making Noise

It is with such mundane, rarely reported stories such as these, that counterinsurgencies take hold.

Thanks for stepping up, guys:

For a second time this week, a large cache consisting of improvised explosive device-making material and mortar rounds was turned over to Coalition Forces by the "Neighborhood Watch" in Taji, Iraq.

The Taji neighborhood watch contacted Coalition Forces June 25, after the driver of a truck fled the scene when the volunteers stopped a suspicious vehicle moving through the rural village of Abd Allah al Jasim. The vehicle contained 24 mortar rounds, two rockets, spare machine gun barrels, small arms ammunition and other IED-making material.

"This grassroots movement of reconciliation by the volunteers is taking off all around us. The tribes that had once actively or passively supported al-Qaeda in Iraq now want them out," said Lt. Col. Peter Andrysiak, the deputy commander of the 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

The neighborhood watch is made up of a group of 500 volunteers, from a number of tribes in the area, who want reconciliation with the Coalition Forces and the Iraqi government. The volunteers are currently being vetted for possible future selection for training as Iraqi Police or some other organization within the Iraqi Security Forces.

Taji, 20 miles north of Baghdad, is perhaps most infamously known as the town where ABC News co-anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt were seriously injured in a 2006 IED explosion, and under the Hussein regime, the site of Iraq's long-range missile program. On Saturday, four U.S. soldiers based at Fort Hood died in an IED attack there.

While our soldiers are still battling Sunni insurgent IED cells in Taji, it is worth noting the seeds to a successful counterinsurgency are being sown in Taji and elsewhere, as noted yesterday in Small Wars Journal (h/t Instapundit):

On June 15th we kicked off a major series of division-sized operations in Baghdad and the surrounding provinces. As General Odierno said, we have finished the build-up phase and are now beginning the actual "surge of operations". I have often said that we need to give this time. That is still true. But this is the end of the beginning: we are now starting to put things onto a viable long-term footing.

These operations are qualitatively different from what we have done before. Our concept is to knock over several insurgent safe havens simultaneously, in order to prevent terrorists relocating their infrastructure from one to another, and to create an operational synergy between what we're doing in Baghdad and what's happening outside. Unlike on previous occasions, we don't plan to leave these areas once they're secured. These ops will run over months, and the key activity is to stand up viable local security forces in partnership with Iraqi Army and Police, as well as political and economic programs, to permanently secure them. The really decisive activity will be police work, registration of the population and counterintelligence in these areas, to comb out the insurgent sleeper cells and political cells that have "gone quiet" as we moved in, but which will try to survive through the op and emerge later. This will take operational patience, and it will be intelligence-led, and Iraqi government-led. It will probably not make the news (the really important stuff rarely does) but it will be the truly decisive action.

When we speak of "clearing" an enemy safe haven, we are not talking about destroying the enemy in it; we are talking about rescuing the population in it from enemy intimidation. If we don't get every enemy cell in the initial operation, that's OK. The point of the operations is to lift the pall of fear from population groups that have been intimidated and exploited by terrorists to date, then win them over and work with them in partnership to clean out the cells that remain – as has happened in Al Anbar Province and can happen elsewhere in Iraq as well.

The "terrain" we are clearing is human terrain, not physical terrain. It is about marginalizing al Qa'ida, Shi'a extremist militias, and the other terrorist groups from the population they prey on. This is why claims that "80% of AQ leadership have fled" don’t overly disturb us: the aim is not to kill every last AQ leader, but rather to drive them off the population and keep them off, so that we can work with the community to prevent their return.

It is this kind of working within the community that makes this one small story in a large war worth noting.

The "neighborhood watch" that captured this cache is composed of 500 men from various tribes in the Taji area that once supported al Qaeda and the Sunni insurgency. As Dave Kilcullen notes above, it is the human terrain that matters, and the fact that these men are now actively working against al Qaeda and the insurgency, are attempting to join the political process and the Iraqi security forces, that is far more important than an increasing body count.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:30 PM | Comments (22)

June 25, 2007

Anonymous Sources: Iranian Forces Invade Iraq

Well, we saw this coming:

Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces have been spotted by British troops crossing the border into southern Iraq, The Sun tabloid reported on Tuesday.

Britain's defence ministry would not confirm or deny the report, with a spokesman declining to comment on "intelligence matters".

An unidentified intelligence source told the tabloid: "It is an extremely alarming development and raises the stakes considerably. In effect, it means we are in a full on war with Iran -- but nobody has officially declared it."

"We have hard proof that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps have crossed the border to attack us. It is very hard for us to strike back. All we can do is try to defend ourselves. We are badly on the back foot."

The Sun said that radar sightings of Iranian helicopters crossing into the Iraqi desert were confirmed to it by very senior military sources.

No doubt, certain harpies will "question the timing" before the sun comes up.

Jimmy Buffett Update: Searching for that lost shaker of salt.

Preferably, that salt will come in large grains.

I was careful last night when this claim was made to note in the headline that this story was linked to anonymous sources within the British government, and now that the Sun article has been published, I see nothing solid to which we could hang a credible claim on, other than the names of two British soldiers said killed by Iranian-placed bombs, Corporal Ben Leaning, 24, and Trooper Kristen Turton, 27.

According to Defence Internet these two soldiers were part of The Queen's Royal Lancers Battle Group, in Maysan Province, Southern Iraq, on Thursday 19 April 2007.

The story there reads:


Corporal Leaning was commanding and Trooper Turton was driving a Scimitar Armoured Reconnaissance vehicle which was providing protection for a convoy.

At approximately 1120 hrs local time, the vehicle was struck and badly damaged by an improvised explosive device attack, which killed Corporal Leaning and Trooper Turton and injured the Scimitar's gunner and two other members of the troop.

All casualties were taken by helicopter to Tallil airbase in Dhi Qar Province where they are receiving the best possible medical care for their injuries.

As it so happens, Michael Yon was there, and wrote about the attack in his dispatch, Death or Glory:

We had taken off nearly three hours earlier at 0830. At about 1120, the convoy entered the ambush. Eight of the 46 bombs detonated. EFPs tore through metal, ball bearings puncturing the vehicles, peppering them with holes. Major Edward Mack, who was at least six vehicles behind detonation in the convoy, heard two distinct explosions. He was approximately 40 meters from the nearest blast, and he reckons there was about 8 to 10 meters between the two.

WO2 (SSM) Steve McMenamy was about seventh vehicle back, 50 meters or so from the initial explosion. He felt the detonations and saw a massive black cloud. McMenamy cocked his weapon, jumped off the vehicle and took a knee, trying to assess what was happening. As the dust cloud cleared, McMenamy saw an injured soldier sitting down, shuffling himself away from the vehicle. McMenamy ran forward to check for casualties, but realized he was also running into contact, so he veered to the right and ran into culvert. He found Sergeant Jenkin kneeling and still alive.

“Are you all right?” asked McMenamy.
Jenkin grinned and answered, “No.”
McMenamy said, “Jimmy, look at me: I need to know if you are all right because I need to move forward.”
“I’m okay,” Jenkins said.

Trooper Callum McDonald helped Trooper Thompson into a drainage ditch where he was laying and moaning. Other soldiers rushed to help the wounded or to set up security. McMenamy moved forward to the stricken Scimitar, shouting to the crew, asking if anyone could hear him. He climbed onto the vehicle and saw that Turton, the driver, was dead. Climbing onto the turret, he searched for Corporal Leaning, the commander. As McMenamy crossed into the top of turret and looked into gunner’s side, he saw that Corporal Leaning was also dead.

Nothing in Yon's account of that day or his follow-up dispatch mentioned suspected Iranian involvement.

Independent of Yon's account, I contacted a senior U.S. officer in Iraq last night, and he was unable to confirm anything about the Sun story, other than that he had read it.

Like the "smoking gun" story I burned as groundless from the Independent Telegraph , this story does not have any credible supporting evidence to date.

I'll post more updates as I have them.

Another Update: Just heard from Yon via email. "48 IEDs, 46 were EFPs." He had to run (he's in a war right now, after all), and couldn't provide more info.

I have no context for this, so I'll leave you to draw your own inferences.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:01 PM | Comments (45)

June 22, 2007

Arrowhead Ripper: Surrender or Die

So Michael Yon entitles his latest post from the front lines of Operation Arrowhead Ripper in Baquba, which to date, has killed 51 members of al Qaeda and led to the capture of 20 more as of yesterday, June 21.

Surrender-or-Die
Source:Explosion in Baquba on June 12, 2007. Photo by Michael Yon.

Yon reports that the larger media organizations are finally showing up, but are having communications problems that make reporting on the battle difficult (I cleaned up the hanging HTML tag in Mike's post; I hope you don't mind):

Alexandra Zavis from Los Angeles Times is down in the heat of the battle bringing home information. Michael Gordon from New York Times is still slugging it out, and his portions are accurate in the co-authored story, "Heavy Fighting as US Troops Squeeze Insurgents in Iraqi City." (Long title.)

CNN has joined the fight. AP came but will stay only a few days. Joe Klein from TIME was here on the 21st and his story posted the same day and was accurate. We rode together in a Stryker. Like magic, Joe’s story was out before I got back to base. Joe took a helicopter out and filed from elsewhere. I’m having comms problems here which is greatly slowing the flow. My Thuraya satellite phone and RBGAN satellite dish are not working for hours each day. The AP reporter is having the same problems. The signal degradation is caused by a special sort of RF interference. Moving our antennas around won’t work. We simply get cut off for long periods.

If these communications problems sounds familiar, it should: Yon and other journalists have faced these issues for years:

Valuable stories about our soldiers and the battle are being lost and will never be filed because reporters, after a long day of being on the battlefield, cannot make a simple phone call, or file a story. Why be here? It’s pretty dangerous, and insurance is expensive. I had to skip a mission this morning because I cannot make communications, and am down to filing stories on the fly again without time for editing. There is no other way to keep the flow open, and if you are reading this, it’s only after I’ve wasted hours trying to upload it. Hours I could have been with our soldiers, telling about their days in one of the most important battles of this war.

Frankly, the military has had since 2003 to work on these issues, but setting up communications for reporters has always seemed to be an afterthought, if thought of at all. In a war where media access and coverage driving public opinion is as important to success as combat and humanitarian operations on the ground, there is simply no good excuse for this.

I suspect that a lot of the interference reporters are encountering with their comms are directly the result of ECM jamming to keep al Qaeda from communicating, but as U.S. military comms work, they should be able to dedicate one line or frequency for media reporting. Hopefully, the PAO will get these problems resolved, ASAP.

Otherwise, while Yon is very impressed with U.S. forces and the level of access he and other reporters have been afforded to cover the battle. He is far less impressed with local Iraqi military commanders, who have a tendency to act like state officials in Louisiana:

I’ve seen them in meeting after meeting, over the past few days, finding ways to be underachievers. The Iraqi commanders have dozens of large trucks and have only to drive to our base to collect the supplies and distribute those supplies to the people displaced in the battle. Our troops are fully engaged in combat, yet the Iraqi leaders were not able to carry that load without LTC Johnson supplying the initiative. The Kurds would have had this fixed yesterday. The Iraqi commanders in Mosul would have fixed this. The local Iraqi command climate is disappointing by comparison.

As for his impressions of how our soldiers are performing in Baquba, I'll send you over to Mike's site to read the rest.

As noted above by Yon above, reporters are finally flooding into Baquba to cover Operation Arrowhead Ripper, but communications problems seem to be limiting the information getting out.

One story that did get out, from Reuters reporter Alister Bull, highlights the depravity of the enemy we are fighting:

Bednarek said U.S. forces were making some grisly discoveries as they scoured Baquba. He said residents led soldiers to a house in the western part of the city that appeared to have been used to hold, torment and kill hostages. Soldiers destroyed it.

"When you walk into a room and you see blood trails, you see saws, you see drills, knives, in addition to weapons, that is not normal," Bednarek said.

That soldiers uncovered an al Qaeda torture house is unsurprising; soldiers in another part of Operation Phantom Thunder, in a sub-operation called Operation Commando Eagle, captured an al Qaeda torture manual on CD when they captured several terrorists yesterday. We've seen these before.

Like yesterdays' account from Joe Klein of TIME, Bull reports that members of the insurgent 1920s Revolutionary Brigades are helping U.S. forces route al Qaeda.


arrowhead_ripper061907
Source:Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, move down a neighborhood street during Operation Arrowhead Ripper, June 19, 2007, in Baqouba, Iraq. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Armando Monroig.

This sounds familiar.

MNC-I release an account this morning that may provide anecdotal evidence that al Qaeda in Baquba was truly surprised by the swiftness and effectiveness of how quickly American forces were able to cordon off Baquba and trap them inside, as al Qaeda fighters desperately attempted to use an ambulance to escape:

Coalition Forces intercepted an ambulance carrying seven suspected al-Qaida operatives attempting to circumvent security elements operating in Baqouba, June 19. Local doctors called the Diyala Provincial Joint Coordination Center and reported five children injured near Khatoon, a neighborhood in southwest Baqouba, Iraq. The PJCC dispatched an ambulance to that location.

Later, the ambulance was seen heading north on a road northwest of New Baqouba when it bypassed the road that led to the hospital.

The ambulance was stopped by alert Soldiers from 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash., who are conducting missions in the area as part of Operation Arrowhead Ripper.

Soldiers checked the ambulance and found a driver and six men, who appeared to be in their 20s and 30s, two of which were injured. There were no children in the ambulance.

CF provided medical treatment to the wounded men and detained all seven.

If this sounds familiar, Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists have frequently used ambulances and even media vehicles to transport men and munitions in their ever-present conflict with Israeli forces.

Another MNC-I release states that U.S. attack helicopters have killed at least 13 al Qaeda terrorists and leveled their compound, and found a Baquba school rigged with explosives:

In a separate engagement, CF Soldiers discovered an empty school complex rigged with explosives in Baqouba, the capital city of Diyala province, Thursday, during Operation Arrowhead Ripper. Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment discovered the booby-trapped school complex. An investigation of the area determined the school and surrounding buildings had been abandoned. CF had to destroy the school due to risk to the community. CF were unable to disable the explosives because of instability. Ground forces effectively coordinated a precisions guided munitions strike and successfully destroyed the school-borne IED.

The release concludes:

As Arrowhead Ripper continued through June 21, at least 51 al-Qaida operatives have been killed, with 20 al-Qaida operatives detained, seven weapons caches discovered, 21 improvised explosive devices destroyed and nine booby-trapped structures destroyed.

Hopefully we'll be able to update this developing story as more media are able to file reports.

Update: A.J. Strata has his own roundup posted here.

Update: A short email from Mike Yon:

They are in trouble here, Bob. Operation Arrowhead Ripper is going very well. This is a problem for Al Qaeda here.

Based on what Yon has said both in his emails to me and Glenn, and probably others, and what he has said in his posts from Baquba stating his near unfettered access to the Operation Arrowhead Ripper tactical operations center (TOC) for U.S. and Iraqi forces, he is obviously privy to information that shows al Qaeda in Baquba has every appearance of having been successfully surrounded and cut-off.

Yon noted in his latest post that he and other journalists cannot send out reports via cell phone or satellite, indicating that the military is probably jamming non-military electronic transmissions in the area (I'm sure al Qaeda already knows that their phones don't work, or I wouldn't post it).

This means that al Qaeda, which typically carries cell and/or sat phones for communications, is hampered from cummunicating position-to-position within Baquba, and is probably cut off to external cells in surrounding towns and villages as well. It also probably means that their long-standing tactic of using cell phones to rig command-detonated IEDS has been either eliminated, or at least severely hampered.

It seems that U.S. forces may have learned from Fallujah and other operations where the weaknesses in their earlier cordon operations have been, and have closed those gaps in Baquba.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:06 AM | Comments (2)

June 21, 2007

Allen: Fallujah to be Clear of al Qaeda by August

I wonder how much it pained AP's Kim Gamel to write this:

A U.S. Marine commander in Anbar province predicted that al-Qaida fighters will be expelled from Fallujah by August as the military moves to cut insurgent supply and reinforcement lines into Baghdad and surrounding areas.

Brig. Gen. John Allen, the deputy commander for American forces west of Baghdad, said al-Qaida in Iraq has largely been pushed out of population centers in much of the Anbar province.

He cited the success in turning Sunni tribes against the organization and an influx of American troops to chase al-Qaida out of Iraqi and regions around the capital.

"The vast majority of them have been pushed out of the population centers," Allen said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press. "The surge has given us the troops we needed to really clear those areas, so we cleared them and we stayed."

He said U.S. and Iraqi troops were trying to repeat recent success in calming Ramadi, the provincial capital, using the same neighborhood-by-neighborhood tactics in Fallujah -- a Sunni insurgent bastion that was first cleared by a massive American assault in 2004.

Allen also stated Karmah would be clear of al Qaeda by July.

Over at TIME, Joe Klein helicoptered his way into Baquba, and unleashed a surprisingly objective post showing that Sunni Awakening movement that has largely led al Qaeda to flee their one time stronghold in al Anbar province has spread to Diyala province as well, where American forces were getting help from Sunni insurgents:

A lieutenant colonel named Bruce Antonia told Odierno about preparing to attack the Buhritz neighborhood a few nights earlier when he was approached by local Sunni inusurgents—members, they said, of the 1920 Revolutionary Brigades—who were streaming out of the neighborhood. "They said they'd been fighting al-Qaeda but had run out of ammunition and asked us to supply them. We told them, 'Show us where AQ is and we'll fight them.'" The insurgents did and the neighborhood was cleared.

A second lieutenant colonel named Avanulis Smiley picked up the story from there, "Sir, they've also showed us seven buried IED sites. They gave us specific information—description of the houses, gate color, tree trunks."

After the briefing I asked Colonel Antonia if he'd asked the Sunnis why they had turned against al-Qaeda. "They said it was religious stuff," he said. "AQI demanded that the women wear abayas, no smoking and they preached an extreme version of Islam in the mosque. They'd also spent the winter without food and fuel because of the violence al-Qaeda was causing. One guy said to me, 'We fought against you because you invaded our country and you're infidels. But you treat us with more dignity than al-Qaeda,' and he said they'd continue to work with us. I've been involved in many operations here and this is a first—usually everybody's shooting at us. This is the first time we've had any of them on our side." (In web postings, the 1920 Revolutionary Brigade has denied it is cooperating with the Americans.)

Sadly enough, the majority of the media has chosen to focus on the tragic deaths of 14 American troops in combat, instead of what the operations these men were a part of are attempting to accomplish. As is so often the case, Allahpundit puts the media's choice in stark relief.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:10 PM | Comments (26)

June 20, 2007

The Silence of the Lambs

WWJD?
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:58 PM | Comments (1)

Support the Marines

This just in via email from Blackfive:

With combat operations in Iraq as kinetic as they've ever been, the Marines could use your support. No links, just please use the info below at your discretion. At Blackfive, we have been trying to improve our relationship with the Public Affairs Officers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not surprisingly, the Marines have begun a really intense exchange of ideas with us. One Marine Combat Commander embraced our offer of support. One of the requests that they had of us was to attempt to get 6,000 positive and supportive emails - one for each Marine, Sailor and Soldier in the Marine Regimental Combat Team - 6. Grim, our resident thinker and former Marine at Blackfive, has taken responsibility for this project. From Grim's interview with Marine Colonel Simcock, Commander of RCT-6: http://www.blackfive.net/main/2007/06/roundtable_with.html
COL. SIMCOCK: (Chuckles.) I'll tell you what, the one thing that all Marines want to know about -- and that includes me and everyone within Regimental Combat Team 6 -- we want to know that the American public are behind us. We believe that the actions that we're taking over here are very, very important to America. We're fighting a group of people that, if they could, would take away the freedoms that America enjoys. If anyone -- you know, just sit down, jot us -- throw us an e- mail, write us a letter, let us know that the American public are behind us. Because we watch the news just like everyone else. It's broadcast over here in our chow halls and the weight rooms, and we watch that stuff, and we're a little bit concerned sometimes that America really doesn't know what's going on over here, and we get sometimes concerns that the American public isn't behind us and doesn't see the importance of what's going on. So that's something I think that all Marines, soldiers and sailors would like to hear from back home, that in fact, yes, they think what we're doing over here is important and they are in fact behind us.

The Marines have set up a special email address to send a supportive message to the Marines is: RCT-6lettersfromh@gcemnf-wiraq.usmc.mil . The emails are being scanned by the PAO before being printed and distributed to individual Marines.

And, guess what?, the RCT-6 has a blog at http://fightin6thmarines.vox.com/

AFTER A FEW DAYS, WE HAVE ONLY GOTTEN THE MARINES ABOUT 2,000 EMAILS. WE COULD USE SOME HELP IN GETTING THE WORD OUT.

Thanks!

Best,

Matt

You're waiting for what, exactly?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)

Recycling the Dead

Just eight days ago, in advance of the now-engaged campaign in Baquba, Italian-based "news" site Uruknet re-posted in full an article by The Peoples Voice, a site dedicated, according to the masthead, to "Environmental, political, and social justice issues."

The People's Voice post attempts to re-raise the specter of the "illegal" use of Mark 77 firebombs and white phosphorus ordnance that they and other questionable media outlets claimed were used against civilians in the 2004 assault on Fallujah and in the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. The article features three graphic pictures of victims that the site intones were killed with firebombs and white phosphorus.

There's a funny thing about at least two of those three pictures, however.

The first image they use in line with comments about the use of Mark 77 firebombs in 2003 was actually taken in Fallujah in 2004, following the American assault on that city, and was featured in the Italian-made documentary Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre that I roundly debunked in November of 2005.

As I stated at the time about this photo:

Body 3. 9:38 Extremely decomposed remains, cause of death undetermined. No apparent burn marks on the body or clothes.

Body 3 referred to the order of appearance of the remains, and 9:38 corresponds to when the photo was shown in the documentary. Interestingly enough, while the People's Voice leave the reader to infer that this body was the victim of a firebomb, the Italian documentary claimed that this body had been killed by white phosphorus. Details, details...

While the photo is of extremely low quality (and therefore easy to spin any way you desire), it is clear the corpse is clothed. Something that burns as hot as napalm or firebomb would likely have burned the clothing completely away, if not most or all of the body as well.

The fact of the matter is that we don't know what killed this suspected insurgent in Fallujah, and the attempt by the RAI documentary to claim he/she was a victim of white phosphorus is equally irresponsible as the People's Voice attempt to link the corpse to a a strike by a Mark 77 at any point in the war, much less a period in time that doesn't coincide with the claims made in the article's text.

The next body shown in the People's Voice article was also lifted from the RAI documentary, and led the reader to believe this body was the dead suspected insurgent was killed by white phosphorus.
Really?

As I noted when I first saw this picture in the RAI documentary:

Body 18. 19:40 Military-aged male, moderately decomposed. No sign of burns on face or clothes.

Once again, (like every single photo in the RAI documentary) there is no physical evidence on this corpse consistent with white phosphorous wounds.

Chris Milroy, professor of forensic pathology at the University of Sheffield (England), after seeing these bodies in the RAI documentary, said:

..."nothing indicates to me that the bodies have been burnt". They had turned black and lost their skin "through decomposition".

It might also be worth noting that the author of the Guardian article cited above made false claims regarding the use of thermobaric weapons in Fallujah (to the best of my knowledge, precisely one thermobaric weapon has been dropped in wartime, and that was used against a cave in Afghanistan).

The third body shown in the People's Voice article, point or origin unknown, also shows a badly decomposed body, cause of death unknown and partially skeletal, as some sort of incendiary weapons victim as well, without any pathological proof presented.

As for the actual charges made in the People's Voice article...

Well, to call them "highly selective" in nature would be fair, as would be calling them "inconsistent" with the military use of white phosphorus even on personnel, "ignorant" as to its actual effects of such weapons on the human body (it would burns holes in a person that did not brush or shake it off; it does not engulf them), and "misleading" overall.

In other words, the entire article is unreliable, but as People's Voice is concerned with environmental issues, we can at least commend them for recycling the dead.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:36 AM | Comments (15)

Arrowhead Ripper: In Your Face

MNF-I released comments this morning regarding the opening day of Operation Arrowhead Ripper, targeting al Qaeda elements in Baquba, capitol of Iraq's Diyala Province.

The 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division launched the offensive with a quick-strike night air assault early Tuesday morning.

"The end state is to destroy the al-Qaeda influences in this province and eliminate their threat against the people," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, deputy commanding general of operations for the 25th Infantry Division. "That is the number one, bottom-line, up-front, in-your-face task and purpose."

About 10,000 Soldiers, with a full complement of attack helicopters, close-air support, Strykers and Bradley fighting vehicles, are taking part in Arrowhead Ripper, which is still in its opening stages. Elements of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division; the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division and the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade are also participating in the operation.

The MNF-I release claims 22 terrorists killed; VOA News now puts the count at 30, while Earthtimes says 13 other suspect members of al Qaeda were captured, along with weapons caches and roadside bombs.

Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army also engaged al Qaeda targets in Baquba, killing four suspected terrorists and capturing two more.

One U.S. soldier has been killed and two have been injured thus far in the operation.

* * *

I'd remind readers that this operation, just underway, will no doubt result in an attempt by al Qaeda propagandists and journalists with questionable sources to allege war crimes, as similar debunked charges were brought up during and after the battle of Fallujah.

Some ersatz media sites sympathetic to jihadists are still running these already debunked claims, and will no doubt attempt to recycle these claims for Operation Arrowhead Ripper (Gee, do the pictures of bodies linked here look familiar to those in the UrukNet photos? They've mysteriously transformed from the bodies of innocent victims of white phosphorus "poison gas" to being victims of napalm or Mark 77 firebombs, even though none were used in Fallujah).

As a side note, white phosphorus has already been used in Baquba...as a screening agent for American forces to move behind and through to avoid enemy fire, which is one of its primary battlefield uses.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:36 AM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2007

The Declining State of Taliban Education

How can they call it a "graduation" when it is obvious that not a single student has taken the final exam?

I demand accountability.

Heh. In the comments at Hot Air, "Those who can, bomb. Those who can't, make videos. "

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:43 AM | Comments (2)

Major Surge Op Underway in Diyala

Up to 10,000 U.S. Troops have mounted an air and ground assault in Baquba:

Up to 10,000 U.S. soldiers backed by armored vehicles and helicopter gunships fought their way into an al Qaeda haven in Iraq on Tuesday, killing at least 22 extremist fighters, the military said.

Operation Arrowhead Ripper, involving Strykers and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, was aimed at dismantling al Qaeda operations around Baquba, a hotbed of unrest north of Baghdad, a military statement said.

Baquba is the capital of Diyala province, a mixed region located north and east of Baghdad and bordering Iran. Military officials believe some al Qaeda in Iraq elements have recently migrated from Baghdad and Anbar province to Diyala.

The 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division kicked off the operation "with a quick-strike nighttime air assault earlier today," the military said Tuesday.

Ground troops joined the attack helicopters in engaging the militants, 22 of whom were killed by daylight, the military said.

Michael Yon is on the ground with U.S. forces, and writes via email:

We just attacked Baqubah (or let's say it's just begun) and I am here. Very, very busy. US forces appear to be meeting objectives so far. There is fighting and casualties on both sides, but mostly I am seeing order so far.

He posts about the opening stages of the operation in Diyala on his latest dispatch:

The doctor has made a decision: Al Qaeda must be excised. That means a large scale attack, and what appears to be the most widespread combat operations since the end of the ground war are now unfolding. A small part of that larger battle will be the Battle for Baquba. For those involved, it will be a very large battle, but in context, it will be only one of numerous similar battles now unfolding. Just as this sentence was written, we began dropping bombs south of Baghdad and our troops are in contact.

Northeast of Baghdad, innocent civilians are being asked to leave Baquba. More than 1,000 AQI fighters are there, with perhaps another thousand adjuncts. Baquba alone might be as intense as Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah in late 2004. They are ready for us. Giant bombs are buried in the roads. Snipers—real snipers—have chiseled holes in walls so that they can shoot not from roofs or windows, but from deep inside buildings, where we cannot see the flash or hear the shots. They will shoot for our faces and necks. Car bombs are already assembled. Suicide vests are prepared.

The enemy will try to herd us into their traps, and likely many of us will be killed before it ends. Already, they have been blowing up bridges, apparently to restrict our movements. Entire buildings are rigged with explosives. They have rockets, mortars, and bombs hidden in places they know we are likely to cross, or places we might seek cover. They will use human shields and force people to drive bombs at us. They will use cameras and make it look like we are ravaging the city and that they are defeating us. By the time you read this, we will be inside Baquba, and we will be killing them. No secrets are spilling here.

Read that again, "Baquba alone might be as intense as Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah in late 2004."

The "Mahogany Ridge" media is tied up in the latest suicide bombing in Baghdad (simply look at the title, lede, and focus of the CNN article cited above as an example), and even those who chose to feature the Baquba assault clearly don't understand the magnitude of the just-joined battle.

Once reality slowly dawns on the media that they are misunderestimating the scope and scale of the assault, steel yourself for a rush of inaccuracies as they seek to get something, anything published, much of it based upon rumor, some of it based upon outright propaganda and lies.

We saw the same during and after Fallujah, when the U.S. military was accused of using napalm on civilians. We don't even have napalm.

The ignorati claimed that white phosphorus was a "chemical weapon," or a "poison gas" and ascribed horrible wounds to it. These claims turned out to be completely untrue.

There may also once again be claims that using .50-caliber machine guns and the cannons of Bradley IFVs and helicopter gunships against terrorist personnel somehow violates the Geneva Conventions. It doesn't.


We'll be hearing and seeing much more from Diyala Province, Baquba proper, and other areas surrounding Baghdad as full-scale surge operations seek to envelop and destroy al Qaeda.

Read smart.

Update: Over at Captains Quarters Ed Morrissey adds some good analysis, and Glenn Reynolds features a longer email from Yon.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:15 AM | Comments (12)

June 15, 2007

Soy Bomb

Considering they supplied arms, training and men against us in wars in Korea and Vietnam in the latter half of the last century, I guess we shouldn't be too surprised at reports that China is arming our enemies today:

New intelligence reveals China is covertly supplying large quantities of small arms and weapons to insurgents in Iraq and the Taliban militia in Afghanistan, through Iran.

U.S. government appeals to China to check some of the arms shipments in advance were met with stonewalling by Beijing, which insisted it knew nothing about the shipments and asked for additional intelligence on the transfers. The ploy has been used in the past by China to hide its arms-proliferation activities from the United States, according to U.S. officials with access to the intelligence reports.

Some arms were sent by aircraft directly from Chinese factories to Afghanistan and included large-caliber sniper rifles, millions of rounds of ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades and components for roadside bombs, as well as other small arms.

The Washington Times reported June 5 that Chinese-made HN-5 anti-aircraft missiles were being used by the Taliban.

According to the officials, the Iranians, in buying the arms, asked Chinese state-run suppliers to expedite the transfers and to remove serial numbers to prevent tracing their origin. China, for its part, offered to transport the weapons in order to prevent the weapons from being interdicted.

The weapons were described as "late-model" arms that have not been seen in the field before and were not left over from Saddam Hussein's rule in Iraq.

U.S. Army specialists suspect the weapons were transferred within the past three months.

As bad as it is, that China is working with Iran to supply weapons to our enemies isn't the worst part of the story.

This is.

The Bush administration has been trying to hide or downplay the intelligence reports to protect its pro-business policies toward China, and to continue to claim that China is helping the United States in the war on terrorism. U.S. officials have openly criticized Iran for the arms transfers but so far there has been no mention that China is a main supplier.

I want to be very careful and not jump to conclusions here, but it seems that Gertz is making the claim that the Bush administration is trying to cover-up the Chinese sale and transfer of weapons used to target American and allied soldiers at the behest of American companies doing business with the Chinese.

If this claim can be substantiated...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:16 AM | Comments (4)

June 14, 2007

Too Little, Too Late

Via Fox News

President Mahmoud Abbas will dissolve the Palestinian Authority's government Thursday after fighting between rival parties Hamas and Fatah consumed the Gaza Strip and was expected to call for a state of emergency, sources close to Abbas confirmed to FOX News.

Hamas fighters took control from two of the rival Fatah movement's most important security command centers in the Gaza Strip, and witnesses said the victors dragged vanquished gunmen into the street and shot them to death execution-style.

Now he's expected to call a state of emergency?

This is kind of like jotting a note to requisition more lifejackets after you've hit the iceberg and the ship's already gone down.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)

The Seditious Senator Reid

Comfortable among his own kind, Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has dropped all pretenses of the insincere "...but we support the troops" mantra utterly by the far left, the Politico reports:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "incompetent" during an interview Tuesday with a group of liberal bloggers, a comment that was never reported.

Reid made similar disparaging remarks about Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said several sources familiar with the interview.

This is but the latest example of how Reid, under pressure from liberal activists to do more to stop the war, is going on the attack against President Bush and his military leaders in anticipation of a September showdown to end U.S. involvement in Iraq, according to Democratic senators and aides.

The report of Reid's attacks on key military commanders comes one day after Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to President Bush claiming that the "surge" in Iraq has failed, just weeks after claiming they would wait until September to evaluate the success of the surge, and despite widespread and growing Sunni uprisings against al Qaeda in al Anbar and Diyala provinces, in Baghdad's Sunni-dominated Amiriyah district, and elsewhere.

According to U.S. Code, Title 18 > Part I > Chapter 115 > § 2387 Activities affecting armed forces generally:

(a) Whoever, with intent to interfere with, impair, or influence the loyalty, morale, or discipline of the military or naval forces of the United States:

(1) advises, counsels, urges, or in any manner causes or attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty by any member of the military or naval forces of the United States; or
(2) distributes or attempts to distribute any written or printed matter which advises, counsels, or urges insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty by any member of the military or naval forces of the United States—

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

(b) For the purposes of this section, the term “military or naval forces of the United States” includes the Army of the United States, the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Naval Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, and Coast Guard Reserve of the United States; and, when any merchant vessel is commissioned in the Navy or is in the service of the Army or the Navy, includes the master, officers, and crew of such vessel.

Marine General Peter Pace is still the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and an active duty officer and leader in the United States military. U.S. Army General David Petraeus is the Commanding General of Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I), in command of all U.S Army, Marine, Navy and Air Force military units in Iraq. Petraeus was confirmed to that position confirmed to that position by the Senate in an 81-0 vote less than five months ago on January 26, 2007.

Senator Harry Reid, please explain to us how your apparent utterances calling serving generals "incompetent" while they are engaged in command duties as general officers of the United States during wartime does not amount to interfering with, impairing, or attempting to influence the loyalty, morale, or discipline of the military or naval forces of the United States.

You'll note, Senator Reid, that Chapter 15 of U.S. Code covers "Treason, Sedition, and Subversive Activities," and I find it very hard for you to argue—though you and your supporters certainly will—that words uttered against the competence of active duty commanding generals during wartime does not amount to an attempt to "interfere with, impair, or influence the loyalty, morale, or discipline of the military or naval forces of the United States." Your offense, coming from your position of United States Senate Majority Leader, is particularly egregious when it is considered that these comments are directed to a group of opinionmakers that claim to hold such sway over Democrat Party politics.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:37 AM | Comments (20)

Gaza Civil War Over Before It Began; Summer Campaign Dominoes Falling Into Place

I wrote on June 5th in a post called The Sliding War that "...the factions in Gaza are almost in, sliding into, on the brink of, and verging on being in a civil war, but they aren't there quite yet... and have been for over a year."

Now, it appears that the Gaza Civil War may be all but over, even before the media could recognize it.

From today's Jerusalem Post:

Hamas fighters overran Fatah-allied Preventive Security headquarters in Gaza City on Thursday, a key target in their battle to control the entire Gaza Strip, witnesses and a security agency official said.

One witness, Jihad Abu Ayad, said Hamas gunmen were bringing Preventive Security men out of the building and executing them in the street.

The headquarters was the last Fatah stronghold in Gaza City, and Fatah appears to be demoralized and all but collapsing.

If Hamas—an Iranian-supported terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel—wrests complete control of Gaza, it is indeed an ominous development.

A member of the Syrian Parliment, Mohammad al Habash, has already told al Jazeera that Syria is preparing for a summer war against Israel, and Hezbollah's deputy secretary Sheikh Naim Kassem has already stated that Hezbollah—rearmed by Iran and Syria after last year's battle with Israel in Lebanon—is also preparing for another summer "adventure" with Israel as well.

A map of the region shows why these claims are of such concern.

Israel_Map

If the ominous rumblings by Syria and Hezbollah of a summer campaign against Israel are credible, then most if not all of northern Israel could be a potential battleground. If Hamas can consolidate power in Gaza, then they have the possibility of opening a weaker, but still lethal second front in the event of a summer war, diverting or dividing Israeli ground forces.

I strongly doubt that even a combined Syrian, Hamas, and Hezbollah offensive would have any strong chance of success, and hope that whatever their endgame strategy is, they realize that as well.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:45 AM | Comments (5)

June 13, 2007

Acute Politics Comes Home

Teflon Don of Acute Politics is back in the world:

After another long stretch in the plane, we landed in Dallas. The people in Dallas are great- my first glimpse of America included a fire truck spraying an arc of water over the plane to welcome us home. Inside, the terminal was almost bare, but there was a still a small crowd that went to the airport at 6am to greet us. A quick run through immigrations and customs put us back in the world- a place where we are much less soldiers, and much more kids trying to make our cell phones work.

My group flew standby, trying to get home just a few hours quicker. Everywhere we went, we had a few people come up and thank us. In my experience, most of those that did had a relative or friend in the military. Most people payed no more attention to us than to anyone anyone else. No one was rude.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:58 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2007

Jeep Jihadi Apologizes, Requests Life... in California

His defense attorney claims he has "a severe mental illness."

The man accused of striking nine people when he drove a vehicle on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last year has apologized in a letter sent to the court.

In the letter dated May 20 and sent to Orange County Superior Court, Mohammed Taheri-azar said he is "very sorry for the crimes which I committed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on March 3, 2006. I sincerely regret what I did on that day. Please release me from state custody so that I may pursue my goal of living a productive life in California."

Taheri-azar has pleaded not guilty to nine counts of attempted first-degree murder and nine counts of felonious assault.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:11 AM | Comments (9)

Still Just Factional Fighting

Hamas is threatening to overrun Fatah positions in Gaza, one day after attacking the home of Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya and killing the top Fatah official in northern Gaza, Jamal al-Jediyan.

According to Global Security's handy dandy Civil War Checklist, there are five critieria for a civil war:

civil war: A war between factions of the same country; there are five criteria for international recognition of this status: the contestants must control territory, have a functioning government, enjoy some foreign recognition, have identifiable regular armed forces, and engage in major military operations.

Does each faction control territory? Check.

Does Gaza have a functioning government? Check.

Do Fatah and Hamas enjoy some foreign recognition? Check.

Do they have identifiable armed forces? Check.

Do they engage in major military operations Check, and with two attacks directed against Haniya in two days and the new threat issued by Hamas against Fatah, the violence is getting more pronounced each day.

At some point, Rueters, AFP, the Assocaited Press, and other news organizations should begin identifying this clear civil war for what it is.

That day, however, is not today.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:47 AM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2007

Is Hyperventilating a Team Sport?

If so, I think this guy is shooting for MVP:

Gov. Huckabee, who wants to be President, seems to have no problem with the gulag known as Gitmo. In fact, he says that prisoners would rather be in Gitmo then in the prisons right here in the USA...

[snip]

If Gitmo is better then state prisons in the USA, then we need to shut down every prison in the United States. Gitmo is a gulag, plain and simple. People there are being tortured, and some are dying. There are constant hunger strikes, and no international human rights groups are allowed to monitor the situation down there.

I covered this ground almost two years ago.

There are indeed prisons in America far worse than Guantanamo Bay, and to label the detention facility there a "gulag" is an abject display of ignorance, showing just how little the excitable author knows about real Soviet gulags, where millions of prisoners were worked, starved, and tortured to death.

Four prisoners have commited suicide at Guantanamo, since 2002, less than one a year, while 400 prisoners in American prisons commit suicide each year.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:54 PM | Comments (41)

Shaped Charge Captured in Afghanistan

They don't say "EFP" or "explosively-formed penetrator," but based upon how the story is composed and allusions to Iraq, it seems like that is what they are probably talking about here.

A hi-tech bomb, similar to the ones used by militants in Iraq, has been found in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Afghan intelligence sources say the bomb can penetrate heavily armoured vehicles and was set up by a road to target a high-level government convoy.

There is increasing evidence that sophisticated explosives technology is crossing into Afghanistan from Iraq.

Police and government officials say they believe Iran is the source of these so-called "shaped charges".

'Shaped charges'

They have been used widely in Iraq and now it seems they are on the streets of Afghanistan.

These "shaped charges" are designed to explode in a specific direction, to concentrate the force into one point, and their discovery in Kabul is a worrying development for security forces.

To be fair, EFPs are just one kind of shaped charge, and the device found in Kabul may not be an EFP. It is worrisome that the media so quickly tied this device to Iran, and I'd like to know how they made that determination. I suspect that EOD specialists noted characteristics of this device that mimic those devices captured in Iraq to make that determination, but don't know for certain.

Needless to say, it bears watching to see if more charges thought to be of Iranian origin show up in Afghanistan, which could indicate that Iran is attempting to spread its influence eastward.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:27 AM | Comments (2)

Information Underload

Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman's comments yesterday on Face the Nation have drawn him quite a bit of attention:

"We've said so publicly that the Iranians have a base in Iran at which they are training Iraqis who are coming in and killing Americans. By some estimates, they have killed as many as 200 American soldiers...if there's any hope of the Iranians living according to the international rule of law and stopping, for instance, their nuclear weapons development, we can't just talk to them...He added, "If they don't play by the rules, we've got to use our force, and to me, that would include taking military action to stop them from doing what they're doing."

"They can't believe that they have immunity for training and equipping people to come in and kill Americans," he said. "We cannot let them get away with it. If we do, they'll take that as a sign of weakness on our part and we will pay for it in Iraq and throughout the region and ultimately right here at home."

People from the right and left have been quick to issue judgement on his pronouncement.

On National Review Online, Michael Ledeen states he thinks Lieberman should be our new Secretary of State because of this comments, while a whole host of liberal blogs have taken the opportunity to use these words against the former Democrat (now Independent) Senator, labeling him "a tool," a "neocon," a "warmonger," and far worse.

Sadly, while both the right and left have quickly jumped on their respective and predictable bandwagons to either support the Senator or condemn Lieberman’s comments, I've read precious little issued forth in concern for the American military forces ostensibly being attacked with Iranian weapons, or by militiamen that are rumored to be trained at facilities within Iran.

Shouldn't we be debating whether or not to attack Iran based upon the threats to American servicemen? This simply is not a conversation being had.

It doesn't seem that either side wants to ask the hard questions that must be asked.

We've heard time and again that Iran is shipping precision-made EFPs (Explosively-Formed Penetrators) into Iraq to militias targeting American armored vehicles. We've heard from the military that the homemade EFPs manufactured in Iraq are not made with enough precision to perform properly against American armor, and that only those EFPs made professionally in Iran can cut through the armor of even our main battle tanks.

Shouldn't we in the blogosphere be asking for details, asking the military to completely explain, in excruciating detail, the technical characteristics of these EFPs that identify them as being Iranian in origin? Shouldn't we be asking for this conclusive proof that the Iranian government must be behind the manufacture of such weapons?

We've heard time and again that other Iranian ordnance, from mortar shells to artillery rounds to sniper rifles to surface-to-air missiles, has been captured in Iraq. Shouldn't we be asking characteristics identify these weapons as exclusively Iranian in origin, and then ask if they could be filtering into Iraq in any other way than with the assistance of the Iranian government?

We've heard time and again that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Qods Force is actively engaged in training and equipping militias in Iraq; shouldn't we be pushing for hard evidence of such a connection, and debating whether or not the evidence of such connections is indeed an act of war worthy of a political, economic, or military response?

What precisely is Senator Lieberman asking for? Is he asking for American special operations units to insert into Iran to capture evidence from suspected EFP manufacturing centers? Is he asking for American air assets to attack and destroy the suspected terrorist training facilities at Imam Ali base near Khorram Abad, or for strikes on Revolutionary Guard bases, training facilities, or leadership targets?

We should be asking these questions, but it seems too many in the blogosphere are siloed into their positions, firmly for or against a strike against Iran based not on the threat posed to American, British, and Iraqi forces, but based upon their own domestic political objectives and agendas.

The questions we should be asking should revolve around the mortal threat Iranian weapons and training either do or do not pose to our troops and that of our allies. We should be asking for hard evidence that such weapons and training are being provided by the Iranian regime. We should be pushing the military, the media, and our leaders to provide us as much information as possible, so that we can intelligently discuss whether or not the Iranian government is either directing or allowing actions against our forces in the region, and what an appropriate response to such a threat would be.

But we aren't doing that in the blogosphere, or in the media.

We've chosen our positions, and have determined our support or opposition to actions against Iran based upon very little but our own preconceived notions and political ideologies, and with little regard to the threat posed to our national security, the security of Iraq, and the security of our troops who may be facing Iranian weapons and Iranian-trained militiamen and insurgents.

Should we consider attacking Iranian personnel and facilities for their involvement in Iraq? I, for one, don't have enough information yet to make a judgement for or against such a strike.

I wish my fellow bloggers and members of the media would pressure our politicians and the military to produce the answers we require to develop an informed opinion, though apparently, many don't feel that being informed is necessary at all.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:30 AM | Comments (3)

June 08, 2007

More Bloodshed on The Way In Iraq

JD Johannes makes some predictions about the "surge" in Iraq leading to a wider war before peace is achieved.

I don't think he's probably too far off the mark.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2007

Is a Summer Proxy War Brewing To Protect Iranian Nukes?

And so the build-up begins:

Israeli intelligence officials have been warning for weeks that Syria is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in anti-tank weapons, antiaircraft rockets, and other missiles, and bolstering its presence along the Israeli border.

Mohammad al Habash, a Syrian parliament member, meanwhile, told the Al Jazeera satellite channel this week that his country was actively preparing for war with Israel, which he said he expected to break out this summer.

I'd suggest taking that bit of news in this context:

A senior member of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government suggested that his country is running out of patience with a US-backed diplomatic overture to head off Iran's nuclear ambitions, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already threatened the U.N. Security Council after threatening the destruction of Israel in the near future just days ago.

We also know that in the wake of last summer's battle in Lebanon that Syria and Iran moved rapidly to rearm the stockpiles of their Hezbollah proxies with over 20,000 short-range missiles and a significant quantity of small arms and ammunition.

According to Defense Update, Hezbollah's deputy secretary Sheikh Naim Kassem intoned that the terror group was preparing for another "adventure" with Israel this summer, and has been receiving anti-aircraft missiles and training directly from Islamic Revolutionary Guards at Iran's Imam Ali base in Tehran.

It seems that we are witnessing is a deliberate and calculated build-up of forces by Syria and Hezbollah for a probable summer campaign against Israel, an attempt likely orchestrated by Iran.

What would be the goal of such a campaign?

Any Israeli response to a summer war would necessarily involve the use of the IDF's strike fighters to hit enemy armor, troop concentrations, or rocket firing areas that are beyond the range of Israeli artillery.

With the recent build-up in training and equipment for both Hezbollah and Syrian anti-aircraft units, it seems possible that the goal of a summer war would be to draw Israel aircraft into an engagement so that they could be ambushed and shot down.

If Syrian and Hezbollah forces could draw Israel aircraft into range, volleys of anti-aircraft missiles could potentially bring down some of Israel's premier strike aircraft and pilots, including the long-range strike fighters that have been training for a possible Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

If Israel loses a significant number of pilots and aircraft (Israel only has 25 F-15I "Ra'am" fighters, thought to be their preferred method of delivering "bunkerbuster" bombs against hardened Iranian facilities), then the probability of success of any Israeli air strike against Iran's nuclear facilities decreases.

The coming summer war may be designed for the sole purpose of buying the Iranian program the time it needs to come to fruition and produce a nuclear warhead.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:13 AM | Comments (7)

June 06, 2007

Blotter Claims Iran Caught Red-Handed, Ignorant Critics Deny Reality of Sunni/Shia Terror Relationships

Here's the Blotter story, which I'll take with a Prudential rock-sized grain of salt, as I've personally caught Brian Ross being dead wrong on the facts before.

That said, I'm already sick and tired of the smugly ignorant (check out the Blotter's comment thread as well) who repeat the delusion that Iranian Shias will not work with or support Iraqi insurgents, Afghan Taliban, or al Qaeda terrorists, merely because these groups are Sunni.

I hate to break this fabrication with a dose of reality, but does anyone remember who Iran's primary ally is? Sunni Baathist Syria. Iran has also long supported Sunni terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, just to name two more.

Iran has a long and concrete history of allying with Baathist Syria and Sunni terrorist groups to support their foreign policy goals.

It's time to put this self-serving bit of "common sense" to bed as the abject ignorance it actually is.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:13 PM | Comments (28)

Ahmadinejad Claims Iran's Nuclear Drive Can't be Stopped

Nuclear chicken, anyone?

Iran's nuclear program cannot be stopped, and any Western attempt to force a halt to uranium enrichment would be like playing "with the lion's tail," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday.

In Berlin, Germany's foreign minister reported no progress in talks with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator ahead of the Group of Eight summit. And with the U.N. Security Council preparing to debate a third set of sanctions for Tehran's refusal to suspend enrichment, Britain raised the possibility of adding curbs on oil and gas investment to the limited measures against individuals and companies involved in Iran's nuclear and weapons programs.

"We advise them to give up stubbornness and childish games," Ahmadinejad said at a news conference. "Some say Iran is like a lion. It's seated quietly in a corner. We advise them not to play with the lion's tail."

Added Ahmadinejad: "It is too late to stop the progress of Iran."

In Washington, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack responded: "It isn't."

McCormack is of course referring to diplomatic efforts by the United States and other nations in the international community to coax Iran into giving up their suspected nuclear weapons program.

Like any nuclear weapons program, the Iranian nuclear weapons program must have multiple minimum components, those being the ability to acquire raw uranium ore, the ability and facilities to process and enrich the uranium to "weapons grade," the ability to develop a warhead, and the ability to deliver a warhead.

Iran has as many as 10 functioning uranium mines according to GlobalSecurity.Org, so acquiring the raw uranium ore has never been an issue. Iran also has at least 11 known facilities to process and enrich their raw ores, with Natanz and Bushehr perhaps being the most well known. Iran is also developing a parallel plutonium-based program out of Arak.

As for the warheads, the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency (IAEA) stated that they were aware that Iran has acquired documents and drawings on the black market, and there has been speculation that Iran may have acquired dual-use components from western countries in the 1990s, as well as warhead technology from North Korea.

Iran is said to have developed long-range missiles such as the claimed Fajr-3 with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) capability typically used only with nuclear warheads, and the proven Shahab-3, which can carry a singe conventional, chemical, biological, or nuclear warhead.

Based upon this information, it seems Iran has the technical capability to build a viable nuclear weapons threat. Based upon the continued threats and rhetoric issued from Iran through President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran also has the political will and strategic goal of becoming a nuclear power.

Western nations that feel threatened by Iran's apparent drive for nuclear weapons essentially have three options:

  • Let Iran continue to develop their nuclear program and hope they are not developing a nuclear weapons program as well;
  • Attempt to convince Iran not to develop a nuclear through political and economic pressures and incentives;
  • Take covert and overt intelligence and military operations to undermine or remove Iran's nuclear capabilities.

We are well past the point where any reasonable nation can assume that Iran is not attempting to develop a nuclear weapons program. They have been caught with warhead plans by U.N. inspectors, and have developed nuclear-capable delivery systems.

The present efforts are primarily diplomatic and economic in nature, hoping to force Iran to the bargaining table, but as Ahmadinejad's most recent threats and rhetoric attest, they have no intention of slowing nuclear development. If they cannot be persuaded to stop their nuclear program through peaceable means, that leaves only the use of intelligence and military forces.

There has been some speculation and a few indications that covert efforts are already underway, some mirroring efforts used against the Soviet Union in the Cold War, such as providing flawed plans through double agents and spies, and at least one top Iranian nuclear scientist has died within the past year.

These covert efforts, however, can at best slow the Iranian nuclear program. There is no way to be sure that any compromised systems will go undiscovered and uncorrected, and the accumulated knowledge is difficult to eradicate with the death of a few occasional scientists, even if they are prominent.

Sadly, with continued defiance by Iran's government and their apparent belief that nuclear capability is in their nation's best interests, a military solution may yet prove that Iran's nuclear drive can indeed be stopped through force of arms.

iaf_air

The IAF Air Force has 25 F-15I "Ra'am" and 102 F-16I "Sufa" long-range strike fighters with the capability of hitting hardened targets with "bunker-buster" bombs in Iran without refueling. If they can arrange in-air refueling, there are no potential targets in Iran out of range.

There seems to be a common misconception that our ground combat in Iraq precludes a strike on Iran if one is warranted, but that supposition has no basis at all in reality. The U.S. assets available for a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities are literally too numerous to name. While the U.S. military's ground forces are heavily involved in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. Air Force and Naval units are virtually free for involvement.

At least three U.S. carrier strike groups carrying more than 240 aircraft are thought to be within range of Iran, and an unknown number of submarine and surface fleet vessels armed with cruise missiles are within range of Iran or can be relatively stealthily deployed to the region.

With mid-air refueling capabilities, the U.S. Air Force fleet of B-1B, B-2, and B-52 bombers and the U.S. strike fighter fleet of F15s, F-16s, and F-117 and F-22 stealth fighters can bring to bear literally thousands of precision-guided bombs if needed in single or multiple sorties.

Should it be determined that the military strike is warranted, precedent indicates that President Bush does not need Congressional approval for such a strike. All U.S. Presidents of the past three decades (yes, even Jimmy Carter) have launched military operations without needing or seeking congressional approval, from Carter's botched attempt to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran, to Reagan's strikes on Libya and Grenada, to Bush 41's invasion of Panama, and Clinton's strikes on Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Sudan.

There is some debate over whether such air strikes by U.S. and Israeli aircraft could destroy or significantly damage Iran's nuclear capability. Even with the recent purchase of Soviet anti-aircraft missile systems, Iran's anti-aircraft capability is second-rate, their aging and obsolete Air Force would probably never get off the ground, so their ability to successfully oppose such a strike through is very unlikely.

I would posit that both the Israeli and the U.S. military have munitions capable of destroying or severely damaging Iranian nuclear sites (even hardened underground bunkers), if those sites can be accurately identified. The attacks would only be likely to fail if the targets cannot accurately be identified and targeted.

The obvious downside of any attack by Israel or the United States upon Iranian nuclear facilities is the very real possibility, if not probability, of an Iranian counterattack by both conventional and unconventional forces.

Iran would certainly target U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf in the wake of any attack on Iran, and may also possibly target civilian shipping as well. Some experts anticipate that Iran may also attempt to invade southern Iraq in retaliation. If such an attack takes place, out-gunned and out-manned British forces are severely under threat, and there is a distinct possibility that units could be overrun before coalition airpower annihilated Iranian conventional forces. Iran may also fire missiles at U.S. bases and Iraqi cities. Shia militias loyal to Iran would be directed to rise up against U.S. forces in Iraq, and the resulting battles would potentially be very bloody. Several dozen to several hundred U.S. soldiers could become fatalities, and no doubt thousands of Shia militiamen and civilians would probably perish on the other side.

Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist groups would probably fire barrages of rockets into Israeli civilian populations, and there is some concern--I'm not sure how serious to take these--that Syria would attack and attempt to retake the Goal Heights, with the predictable disastrous results to Syrian forces.

There is also a credible threat of Hezbollah-directed terrorist attacks again U.S. interests worldwide and possibly in the United States as a result.

Make no mistake: Iran has the capability to hit back in retaliation after their nuclear facilities are struck, and depending on how these attacks are executed in Iraq, Israel, the united States and elsewhere, casualties could be significant.

What the U.S government, the Israeli's, and perhaps other western and Middle Eastern powers have to take into account is whether or not the threatened Iranian retaliation is a greater threat that the Iranian nuclear program. If Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons and their continuous threats are sincere and not just rhetoric, then quite literally, millions of lives are at risk. The result of attempting to use military force to destroy Iran's nuclear program could result in the deaths of thousands. While both options could be avoided by an internal revolt in Iran or a sudden change of course by their government, I fear this bloody drama will be played out by January of 2008, one way, or the other.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:04 AM | Comments (14)

June 05, 2007

The War Lovers

Experts continue to state that anti-war politicians will spill more blood, not less, in the Middle East.

warlovers

For months, professional journalists, combat soldiers, defense experts, intelligence analysts, regional governments, and bloggers have been warning about the consequences of the disastrous retreat from Iraqi being orchestrated by the radicalized left wing of the Democratic Party.

Writing in WSJ's OpinionJournal today, Dan Senor ties it all together, showing through the words of experts that the precipitous headlong retreat favored by so many Democrats will only result in American combat forces returning to the region in greater numbers and facing a far more bloody and destabilized Middle East dubbed "Iraq Plus."

Consider Brent Scowcroft, dean of the Realist School, who openly opposed the war from the outset and was a lead skeptic of the president's democracy-building agenda. In a recent Financial Times interview, he succinctly summed up the implication of withdrawal: "The costs of staying are visible; the costs of getting out are almost never discussed. If we get out before Iraq is stable, the entire Middle East region might start to resemble Iraq today. Getting out is not a solution."

And here is retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, former Centcom Commander and a vociferous critic of the what he sees as the administration's naive and one-sided policy in Iraq and the broader Middle East: "When we are in Iraq we are in many ways containing the violence. If we back off we give it more room to breathe, and it may metastasize in some way and become a regional problem. We don't have to be there at the same force level, but it is a five- to seven-year process to get any reasonable stability in Iraq."

A number of Iraq's Sunni Arab neighbors also opposed the war as well as the U.S. push for liberalizing the region's authoritarian governments. Yet they now backchannel the same two priorities to Washington: Do not let Iran acquire nukes, and do not withdraw from Iraq.

A senior Gulf Cooperation Council official told me that "If America leaves Iraq, America will have to return. Soon. It will not be a clean break. It will not be a permanent goodbye. And by the time America returns, we will have all been drawn in. America will have to stabilize more than just Iraq. The warfare will have spread to other countries, governments will be overthrown. America's military is barely holding on in Iraq today. How will it stabilize 'Iraq Plus'?" (Iraq Plus is the term that some leaders in Arab capitals use to describe the region following a U.S. withdrawal.)

Among the people on Iraqi soil cited by Senor is NY Times Bureau Chief John Burns, who has made comments equating an American pullout with the onset of a regional conflict and violence without limits.


CNN's Michael Ware and Kyra Phillips have echoed similar sentiments, saying a U.S. pullout "would be a disaster."

U.S. secretary of Defense Robert Gates is even more blunt:

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday warned that limiting troops' activities in Iraq and withdrawing from Baghdad could lead to "ethnic cleansing" in the capital and elsewhere in the country.

Gates' comment followed a proposal from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to end most spending on the Iraq war in 2008, limiting it to targeted operations against al Qaeda, training for Iraqi troops and U.S. force protection.

"One real possibility is if we abandon some of these areas and withdraw into the countryside or whatever to do these targeted missions that you could have a fairly significant ethnic cleansing inside Baghdad and in Iraq more broadly," Gates said.

The general premises of anti-war groups is that they wants a U.S. military pullout in Iraq seem based upon the following primary arguments:

  • There were no WMDs/the reasons for the War were a lie (the playground mentality "I want a 'do-over'" argument).
  • The U.S. military is causing tremendous civilian casualties in Iraq (the "remove the babykillers and the bloodshed will stop" argument).
  • Leaving American troops in Iraq without a firm withdrawal date with only allow the various factions to continue fighting without coming to a political solution (the "they're all savages until we disappear and they’ll be forced to negotiate with each other" argument).
  • The various Sunni, Shia and Kurdish factions are going to slaughter each other anyway, so why place American troops in the middle where they can be killed as well (the "they're all savages, let them die/kill each other" argument)

Obviously, there are variations of those major themes, but those are their general arguments.

The common failure of all of these arguments is the purposeful refusal to recognize what many (if not most) experts think will happen in the wake of the arbitrary and precipitous U.S. withdrawal, which are those predictions of a much wider regional war, a phenomenal increase in civilian casualties, the possible attempted genocide of some factions, and the re-entry of the U.S. military into the same region under far worse conditions and the threat of far greater casualties.

Anti-war politicians claim that they want to stop the war in Iraq, but the policies to which they subscribe are akin to throwing water on a grease fire. They would spread the flames of war, and create far more deaths.

Anti-war? No, it is a far wider war they will cause.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:26 PM | Comments (11)

The Sliding War

According to professional media organizations and politicians, this is only factional fighting:

Hamas and Fatah forces fought a major gun battle on Tuesday in the Gaza Strip near the Karni commercial crossing, the most serious flare-up in factional fighting in two weeks.

An officer with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Presidential Guard said a "large number" of Hamas fighters attacked a key Presidential Guard position near the crossing, wounding at least one guard member.

The Presidential Guard officer said the Hamas fighters attempted to infiltrate the position but were pushed back by the Presidential Guard, a Fatah-dominated force which receives U.S. backing.

Hamas, which leads a Palestinian unity government with Abbas's Fatah faction, confirmed the nearly three-hour-long gun battle near Karni but said the Presidential Guard initiated the exchange.

According to Global Security, there are five recognized criteria for a civil war:

civil war: A war between factions of the same country; there are five criteria for international recognition of this status: the contestants must control territory, have a functioning government, enjoy some foreign recognition, have identifiable regular armed forces, and engage in major military operations.
  1. Both Hamas and Fatah control territory.
  2. Both Hamas and Fatah have their own political organizations and function (dysfunction) as part of a recognized government.
  3. both enjoy some foreign recognition via support from governments such as ours (Fatah) and Iran (Hamas).
  4. both have identifiable and mostly uniformed armed forces.
  5. both have engaged and continue to engage in major military operations.

By this definition (and others), the Palestinian Civil War in Gaza is clearly underway, and has been for some time.

A supermajority of the world media organizations refuse to recognize this conflict as the civil war that it is.

Instead, we consistently see accounts that the factions in Gaza are almost in, sliding into, on the brink of, and verging on being in a civil war, but they aren't there quite yet... and have been for over a year.

A few examples:

Abbas acts to halt slide into civil war in Gaza. The U.K. Guardian, May 22, 2006.

Political Violence in Gaza Sparks Fears of Civil War. NPR May 24, 2006.

Gaza sliding into civil war. The U.K. Guardian, October 11, 2006.

Fighting in Gaza Sparks Fears of Civil War. NPR December 17, 2006.

Gaza on brink of civil war as cleric is killed. The U.K. Telegraph, January 8, 2007.

Gaza on brink of civil war. Canada.com, January 29, 2007.

The march toward civil war. The Boston Globe via the International Herald Tribune, February 12, 2007.

Gaza on brink of civil war. The (U.K.?) Times via the Australian, May 17, 2007.

A last chance to avert civil war in Palestine. The U.K. Independent, June 5, 2007.

Abbas: Palestinians verging on civil war. Boston.com, June 5, 2007.

The war in Iraq is widely described in the world's professional media organizations as a "civil war," even though it clearly fails to satisfy the five criteria noted for international recognition as cited by Global Security above, having no formal armies, no functioning governments, nor major battles, instead revolving around kidnappings, bombing, and other random violence.

The Gaza Civil War, on the other hand, satisfies all five criteria for a civil war, and has met these criteria for roughly a year.

Why does the media refuse to recognize the conflict between Hamas and Fatah for the civil war that it is?

I have no easy answers for that question, but is a question that deserves an answer.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:58 AM | Comments (25)

May 31, 2007

Saint Andie isn't calling the Bush Administration Hitler...

...because the phrase War Criminals and Nazis is much more fitting.

Let's begin at the end of Andie "Patron Saint of the Man Pooter" Sullivan's article.

Critics will no doubt say I am accusing the Bush administration of being Hitler. I'm not. There is no comparison between the political system in Germany in 1937 and the U.S. in 2007. What I am reporting is a simple empirical fact: the interrogation methods approved and defended by this president are not new. Many have been used in the past. The very phrase used by the president to describe torture-that-isn't-somehow-torture - "enhanced interrogation techniques" - is a term originally coined by the Nazis. The techniques are indistinguishable. The methods were clearly understood in 1948 as war-crimes. The punishment for them was death.
See he's not calling them Hitler, because, you know Hitler was doing a world a favor by getting rid of those filthy Joos, its the Nazi Party's misguided questioning techniques that Andie wants you to think of when you think of Bush and his Henchmen.

Of course calls for the death of the Bush Administration is nothing new from the party of Love, Peace and Patriotism. If a few thousand more Americans have to die while they're at work in their offices, just so we can ensure the Freedom Fighters are comfortable in their cells, so be it and who the hell are you to question their Patriotism, you nazi bastard.

The part of the document Andie's hoping you didn't read or given the typical Neocon's lack of reading comprehension hoping you wouldn't understand:

1. The sharpened interrogation may only be applied if, on the strength of the preliminary interrogation, it has been ascertained that the prisoner can give information about facts, connections or plans hostile to the state or legal system, but does not want to reveal his knowledge and the latter cannot be obtained by way of inquiries.
2. Under this circumstance, the sharpened interrogation may be applied only against Communists, Marxists, members of the Bible-researcher sect, saboteurs, terrorists, members of the resistance movement,...
3. The sharpened interrogation may not be applied in order to induce confessions about a prisoner's own criminal acts...

Andie would hope you'd skip the part about only applying "sharpened interrogation" to terrorists who "it has been ascertained that the prisoner can give information about facts, connections or plans hostile to the state or legal system, but does not want to reveal his knowledge and the latter cannot be obtained by way of inquiries" and follow along in his inference that Bush, his Administration and those questioning terrorists are war criminals.

Personally, I place the value of human life above my concerns of safety for a terrorist. But maybe I'm being unrealistic and we should just follow Saint Andie's lead and push for a kinder gentler form of questioning:


I guess Pablo the bikini-clad-pool-boy should question Saint Andie.

Posted by phin at 10:55 AM | Comments (30)

May 29, 2007

Hummelgate, a food shortage in Iraq?

Alternatively Titled: How can Bobby Flay challenge troops to a throwdown in the Mojave Desert when the US Military can't get civilians in Iraq the ingredients they need to "toss salad". Brevity is key, and all that.

While you were lounging around sipping mojitos and dreaming of replacing the Rosie "Patron Saint of Truther Conspiracy Theorists" O'Donnell on the view ace was all over the fake, but real, but accurate food shortage memo reported by our friends and neighbors at the WaPo. The Flopped Aced one has a pretty good synopsis of the entire escapade.

Being the good little storm troopers that we are we're wondering why the ever military friendly main stream media reporters aren't receiving their daily allotments of syrup or jelly. Which, if you're a deviant and I know you probably are, you'd know is critical for tossing salad (a search not safe for work, easily sickened or pure of heart, but if you're kinky go for it).

There really are lots of questions that go unanswered here.

  • What type of knucklehead uses Flappy the flag waving wonder eagle instead of the official emblem / seal / logo of the US Embassy in Iraq.
  • Who put the bomp in the bomp-a-bomp-a-bomp? Who put the ram in the ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong? Who put the bop in the bop sh-bop sh-bop?
  • Why did Parvaz Khan a Human Resources Officer create a PDF of the "document"?
  • Is Gleen Ellers Thomas Francis Nancy Greenwald behind this whole shenanigan? He was quoted by congress or the senate or something

I guess it is kind of hard to find a decent US Embassy Logo to use, I mean it was on the second page google's image search.

On the upside we've got Romentum and if anybody will get to the truth behind this whole fire melting steel thingy Ron Paul will and damn it, he'll get put an end to this illegal war we're waging, pronto.

This message was approved by Flappy the salad tossing wonder eagle.

He likes syrup.

And don't blame me or Flappy if you're disturbed after googling "toss my salad", you were warned.

In desperate woman news. It looks like Jessica Simpson and that no talent hack John Mayer are done, over, fineto. If you're not familiar with John Mayer, he's the guy that sang a song about my body being a wonderland. If you're not familiar with Jessica Simpson:


She used to be perfect.

For those of you upset by the lack of "hard-hitting" "serious" reporting around here, well, I'll start as soon as the WaPo and ABC do. Which means you'll all be welcoming CY's return week's wend.

Posted by phin at 01:16 PM | Comments (1)

May 25, 2007

Iranian EFP Proxy Captured In Sadr City

Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?

US and Iraqi forces captured an Iraqi militant accused of "acting as a proxy for an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps officer" on Friday after a fierce gunbattle, the military said.

The joint snatch squad called in an air strike after coming under fire during a raid on the hideout of an alleged weapons smuggling gang in the notorious Sadr City district, a Shiite militia bastion in east Baghdad.

[snip]

EFPs are roadside bombs designed to fire a chunk of molten metal through the toughest armour plating. The United States accuses Tehran of smuggling hundreds of the devices to Iraq, where they have killed scores of US troops.

"Intelligence reports indicate the individual targeted is suspected of having direct ties to the leader of the EFP network as well as acting as a proxy for an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps officer," the statement said.

American forces previously captured a suspect in the Iranian EFP smuggling network in late March. I wonder how much longer it will be until we capture known Iranian Quds Force or Revolutionary Guard Corps officers... other than the ones we've already captured, of course.

The Iranian EFPs are the most deadly threat to U.S. heavy vehicles; indigenously-made Iraqi EFPs consistently fail against U.S. armor.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:38 AM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2007

Funk You

Joe Klein, Keith Olbermann, Brian Ross, etc., I think this is directed at you:

"Hello media, do you know you indirectly kill American soldiers every day? You inspire and report the enemy's objective every day. You are the enemy's greatest weapon. The enemy cannot beat us on the battlefield so all he does is try to wreak enough havoc and have you report it every day. With you and the enemy using each other, you continually break the will of the American public and American government.

"We go out daily and bust and kill the enemy, uncover and destroy huge weapons caches and continue to establish infrastructure. So daily we put a whoopin on the enemy, but all the enemy has to do is turn on the TV and get re-inspired. He gets to see his daily roadside bomb, truck bomb, suicide bomber or mortar attack. He doesn't see any accomplishments of the U.S. military (FOX, you're not exempt, you suck also).

[snip]

"Media, we know you hate the George Bush administration, but report both sides, not just your one-sided agenda. You have got to realize how you are continually motivating every extremist, jihadist and terrorist to continue their resolve to kill American soldiers."

That refrain should be familiar to you by now, as similar thoughts are echoed across the blogosphere and in conversations with active-duty American servicemen almost universally.

But Funk isn't done. He doesn't leave out those of you who say you "support the troops, but not the war."

"We're treading water," the Ames man told the people closest to him. "We continue to kick butt on missions and take care of each other, even though we know the American public and government DOES NOT stand behind us.

Ohhhh, they all say they support us, but how can you support me (the soldier) if you don't support my mission or my objectives. We watch the news over here. Every time we turn it on we see the American public and Hollywood conducting protests and rallies against our 'illegal occupation' of Iraq."

Feel ashamed yet? Probably not. After all, he's just one soldier, and he's no Jesse MacBeth.

(H/T Blackfive)

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:52 PM | Comments (12)

Bush's Wars are Safer For the Military that Clinton's Peace?

It sure sounds odd but that is what the numbers seem to show in regard to military fatalities during the current and most recent administrations.

I'd be interested in countering arguments, should anyone feel like making them, though the figures provided may make a certain amount of sense in one context.

Anecdotally speaking, I recall that the various sports teams at my high school seemed to take more injuries in scrimmages than in games. Coaches often attributed such injuries to a lack of focus and less than full intensity on the part of the injured when other athletes were scrimmaging at "game speed."

Could it be that like athletes, soldiers take their "games"--real combat--more seriously than they do their practices, and are therefore perhaps more prone towards dangerous mistakes during peacetime drills and exercises than in combat?

David Petraeus, our commanding general in Iraq, could be a microcosm of these phenomena in his own right. Never wounded in war, he was shot in the chest in 1991 during a training exercise when a soldier tripped and his weapon discharged, nearly costing Petraeus his life.

I’ve got no easy answers here, and would love to get your opinions in the comments.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:54 AM | Comments (20)

May 22, 2007

Also, The Sun Came Up Today

Allegations in today's Guardian that Iran may be supporting Sunni insurgents and al Qaeda in Iraq in anti-surge operations may come as a shock to some, but I can't imagine why:

Iran is secretly forging ties with al-Qaida elements and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq in preparation for a summer showdown with coalition forces intended to tip a wavering US Congress into voting for full military withdrawal, US officials say.

"Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq and it's a very dangerous course for them to be following. They are already committing daily acts of war against US and British forces," a senior US official in Baghdad warned. "They [Iran] are behind a lot of high-profile attacks meant to undermine US will and British will, such as the rocket attacks on Basra palace and the Green Zone [in Baghdad]. The attacks are directed by the Revolutionary Guard who are connected right to the top [of the Iranian government]."

The official said US commanders were bracing for a nationwide, Iranian-orchestrated summer offensive, linking al-Qaida and Sunni insurgents to Tehran's Shia militia allies, that Iran hoped would trigger a political mutiny in Washington and a US retreat. "We expect that al-Qaida and Iran will both attempt to increase the propaganda and increase the violence prior to Petraeus's report in September [when the US commander General David Petraeus will report to Congress on President George Bush's controversial, six-month security "surge" of 30,000 troop reinforcements]," the official said.

"Certainly it [the violence] is going to pick up from their side. There is significant latent capability in Iraq, especially Iranian-sponsored capability. They can turn it up whenever they want. You can see that from the pre-positioning that's been going on and the huge stockpiles of Iranian weapons that we've turned up in the last couple of months. The relationships between Iran and groups like al-Qaida are very fluid," the official said.

Iran is not "secretly forging ties" with al Qaeda; they've had them all along, possibly as far back as the 1996 Khobar Towers attack. al Qaeda operatives, including the 9/11 plotters have long used Iran as a gateway to Afghanistan, and al Qaeda operatives have lived in Iran since the fall of the Taliban.

That Iran would use "their" al Qaeda to hook up with al Qaeda operatives and other Sunni insurgents in Iraq to pursue their shared goal of forcing the United States out of Iraq is not only unsurprising, it is tediously predictable.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:31 AM | Comments (8)

May 21, 2007

Progress?

Jules Crittenden takes a look behind the headlines to note that the intensive search operations for our missing soldiers in Iraq have led to a dramatic decease in al Qaeda activity in the so-called "Triangle of Death." He's got a dozen links, al worth reading.

Meanwhile, my buddy Michael Yon is in al Anbar, once al Qaeda's base of operations and the heart of the Sunni insurgency, and is bored out of his mind. This is the second time he's mentioned a lack of action there (here's the first) in as many days. He could get used to this. I think we all could, American and Iraqi alike.

Other parts of Iraq were not as quiet.

Sheikh Azhar al-Dulaymi, the Iranian-trained mastermind of the Karbala raid that killed five American soldiers killed in late January, was killed in Sadr City by U.S. forces.

Elsewhere in Iraq, seven U.S. soldiers were killed over the weekend, along with dozens of Iraqi civilians. Eight insurgents were killed and almost three dozen more were captured in a series of raids on Karmah, south of Baghdad.

Elsewhere in the War on Terror, Lebanese Army units fought intense battles with an al Qaeda-aligned group outside Tripoli. Speculation is that the group is backed by Syrian military intelligence at the behest of Syrian dictator Bashir Assad. The group is apparently led by Shaker al-Absi, a Syrian Air Force veteran that is thought to have fought against U.S. forces in Iraq and who is believed to have had links to al Qaeda in Iraq's former leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. According to a Washington Post report, on the terrorists killed, Saddam El-Hajdib , was a suspect in a failed train bombing in Germany.

Meanwhile, the McCain-Kennedy Illegal Alien Exploitation and Terrorist Proliferation Bill is under debate in the U.S. Senate. The bill would offer official documentation to illegal aliens without being able to verify who they actually are or where they come from, and would allow terrorists like the three illegal alien brothers who crossed over the Mexican border at Brownsville and were recently arrested plotting a terrorist attack on Fort Dix to continue to penetrate this country, now with the added bonus of being able to get legal status.

McCain and Republicans in the House and Senate want cheap labor at indentured servitude prices, while Democrats, knowing that illegals tend to break Democrat roughly 5:1 because of the Marxist/socialist politics of their home nations, hope to use illegals to establish an overwhelming permanent Democratic majority.

In the end, we're looking at a Congress that is willing to pass a law that would enable Osama bin Laden himself to get legal status here in the United States.

That is not a comment I'm making up; it comes directly from Mike Cutler, a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Immigration Service, who thinks the Senate bill should be referred to as the Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act of 2007.

I hate Mondays.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:37 AM | Comments (3)

A Few Words on Pelosi, Reid, Murtha, Etc.

I don't agree with the threats, but I certainly share the frustrations.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:07 AM | Comments (5)

May 18, 2007

Palestinian Plot to Assassinate Olmert Foiled

The accused plotter worked for Doctors Without Borders. I'm guessing "first do no harm" principle of Doctors without Borders slipped by him in orientation.

The Israeli intelligence services say they have foiled a plot to assassinate Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other senior Israeli political figures. Details of the story were released yesterday after Israeli authorities lifted a media blackout.

The plot allegedly centered on Mazab Bashir, a 25-year-old Palestinian from Gaza who worked for the international medical relief organization Doctors Without Borders. According to the Israelis, Bashir was arrested in Jerusalem while he was gathering intelligence for future terrorist attacks.

It is not uncommon for Palestinians from Gaza to be granted travel permits by the Israeli security agencies if they work for recognized nongovernmental organizations. Bashir held such a permit, which allowed him to travel regularly from the Gaza Strip to Jerusalem, officials said.

The indictment said Bashir made several surveillance tours of the area surrounding Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Jerusalem residence but decided that the building was too well protected. Working with the Palestinian militant group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, he allegedly received hand to hand combat training and used the Internet to find alternative Israeli personalities to target.

Forbes was able to provide details of the alternative target list:

Once he deemed that the assassination of the prime minister was impossible, Bashir began collecting information on other top Israeli politicians, including Cabinet minister Avigdor Lieberman, deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh and Labor Party lawmaker Ophir Pines-Paz.
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:31 AM | Comments (1)

May 16, 2007

The Storm Builds

Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran.

That will be the take-away for most on this Telegraph article published today, and while that is an extreme bastardization of what former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolten actually said--he actually advocated an escalating course of significant economic sanctions, regime change, and the use of force only if nothing else works--the headline of "We must attack Iran before it gets the bomb" does accurately describe what appears at this point to be the probable end game.

Melanie Phillips does an admirable job of almost describing the stakes:

The choice is not between a negotiated peace with Iran and a war with appalling risks. It is a choice between a war with appalling risks and an Iran that will hold the world to nuclear ransom, having destroyed Israel as a throat-clearing exercise. It is a choice between war with Iran, and war with a nuclear Iran; war on our terms, and war on Iran’s terms; war in which we take the initiative and thus have every prospect of winning, and war in which Iran holds the trump card, which means we have a near certainty of losing.

At the same time, as Bolton also emphasised, making such a grim choice must be a last resort. All-out war with Iran is a prospect fraught with appalling perils and uncertainties. Only a fool would embark upon such a war precipitately. But only a fool would rule it out as a possibly inevitable last resort. The problem is that the EU — and parts of the US government — are behaving as if such a last resort is totally unthinkable. This has powerfully undermined the diplomacy, since Iran clearly believes — and with good reason — that the west simply isn’t serious about enforcing its will and will never go to war against Iran in any circumstances.

I this Phillips is right on the generalities of her statement, but would disagree with her comment that, "Iran that will hold the world to nuclear ransom, having destroyed Israel as a throat-clearing exercise."

Israel has developed an air force over the past decade with the express purpose of targeting Iranian nuclear facilities, which explains their purchase of long-range F-15I "Ra'am" and F-16I "Sufa" strike fighters. Israel has purchased 25 of the F-15I "Ra'am" strike fighters and 102 F-16I "Sufa" strike fighters, the last of which will be delivered in 2008. These aircraft have the capability of hitting Iranian targets without in-flight refueling, and with in-flight refueling, could target any location in that country. Both aircraft are capable of carrying "bunkerbuster" bombs thought to have been purchased from the United States, and would almost certainly be designed to carry the 60-85 nuclear weapons (according to the DIA) thought to be in Israeli inventories.

A U.S. Army paper cites the data of a fired Israeli nuclear technician, Mordechai Vanunu, who went public with his information in 1985, which seems to indicate:

...a sophisticated nuclear program, over 200 bombs, with boosted devices, neutron bombs, F-16 deliverable warheads, and Jericho warheads.

The same paper also indicates that Israel's military may already have official government authorization for a retaliatory nuclear strike if Israel was struck first with nuclear weapons.

Iran may very well destroy Israel as a nation in a nuclear first strike, but Israel's nuclear arsenal would answer holocaust with a holocaust, and as noted yesterday, the Hojjatieh cult running Iran may very well be depending on an Israel response to force a messianic return.

Iran will either be stripped of its nuclear weapons program, or Iran (and other countries) will be stripped of life.

While the headline was perhaps a bit misleading, it was nonetheless true: if economic sanctions and regime change efforts fail, we must attack Iran before it gets the bomb to avoid the deaths of tens of millions.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:48 AM | Comments (13)

An Accidental Interview

I had an interesting twenty-minute face-to-face conversation with a Spec Ops soldier named "K.C." last night.

K.C. first jumped into Iraq on March 26, 2003 with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, in the largest combat air drop since WWII. He most recently served in a six-man Long Range Surveillance (LRS) unit. The LRS are direct descendents of the famed LRRP "A-teams" of the Vietnam War era.

He was careful not to mention assignments or duty locations, but based upon some of the things he stated in our conversation, I gather that he has served extensively in Iraq, and perhaps in Afghanistan as well. He is presently on leave.

During the course of our conversation, K.C. told me the same things I've heard time and again from soldiers at nearby Fort Bragg, airmen from Pope AFB, and the occasion Marines from Camp Lejune and MCAS Cherry Point.

Stop me if you've heard these before.

"The war you see in the media is not the war we are fighting."

If he has his way, K.C. would boot all media out of Iraq. Like others soldiers and Marines before him, he noted to problem of news organizations basing many of their stories based upon anecdotal conversations from locals with their own agendas, while ignoring the testimony of U.S. soldiers, or sometimes cherry-picking comments and dowdifying them to the point that they no longer reflected what the soldier actually said, reflected the battles they've fought, or the experiences they've had. Reporters have alsoeither ignored the physical evidence supporting soldiers contentions, or have been too ignorant or biased to assimilate the information.

K.C.'s observation reminds me of a conversation I had with a soldier who fought in Ramadi some months ago, who spoke of an attack in his area that left civilians dead. The media blamed the deaths on a firefight involving U.S. forces, even though it was 7.62x39mm shell casings (the cartridge used almost universally by Arab militaries, militias, and insurgent groups) and expended RPG fragments found at the scene of the attack, and no signs of American involvement were present.

K.C. related one particular story that obviously still bothered him, that of a school hit by insurgents during the early days of the war. The insurgents killed a number of children, and the media accounts he later saw attributed it to a U.S. airstrike.

I guess that even though the AP has stopped using his name since he was exposed as a fraud, Jamil Not-Hussein still really gets around.

I told him about milblogs, maintained by the active duty soldiers and veterans, and how I thought that if the military was smart, they'd make an effort to channel more information through them to bypass the media that he and other soldiers distrust so much, enabling soldiers to directly tell their stories and experiences to the world. He liked the concept quite a bit, even though he stated he couldn't write about what he personally did.

I hope any military brass that happen to be reading this listens.

"G--D--- Democrats"

Like every single soldier, airman and Marine I've talked to, K.C. is disgusted with Democrat politicians. He pulls no punches: he considers them supporters of terrorism. Period.

This is a sentiment I've also heard before, and interestingly enough, it seems, at least among those I've talked with, that the infantry soldiers and Marines who have spent the most time on the ground feel this the strongest.

Of course, this could have several reasons. The frontline soldiers have more personally invested blood, sweat and tears in the war, have lost friends, and have killed men in Iraq. They also interact with the Iraqi people, and would presumably know them and the culture better than support troops or the airmen I've spoken with. Some seemed to like the Iraqi people, some did not, but to a man, they all wanted to continue the mission and were visibly, coldly (and sometimes not so coldly) angry with Democratic attempts to lose the war.

I shook hands with K.C., wished him well, and told him to keep his head down as he prepares for his next deployment in Our Children's Children's War.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:46 AM | Comments (12)

May 15, 2007

Remembering a Fallen Soldier

I sincerely hope that I'm readying Steve Clemons wrong (my bold):

But this young man did serve his nation -- but his death is so incredibly tragic, like the others -- but his even more because his well-respected father has been working hard to end this horrible, self-damaging crusade. It's incredibly sad.

Is Clemon's really saying that this son's loss is more tragic than others, because the father shares Clemon's anti-war beliefs?

Jules Crittenden, who knew Professor Bacevich, offers a much more fitting tribute.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:57 AM | Comments (8)

The Eschatology of the Coming Nuclear War

U.S. News and World Report has a short post up concerning the simulation of nuclear detonations in the Middle East:

A simulation has determined that any major use of nuclear forces in the Middle East in the next decade would most likely be "existential," meaning that an attack would amount to an effort to destroy a nation and the ability of its people to ever recover from a nuclear exchange. The briefers determined that Israel would be vulnerable to such attacks--and so would any Iranian attacker. The simulation was developed by the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., to examine the nuclear dynamics likely to develop in the Middle East between 2010 and 2020.

"In fact," noted a Center for Strategic and International Studies summary of the briefing released today, "a nation like Iran--with so much of its economy, culture, and government concentrated in Tehran and a few other cities, might prove to be far more vulnerable to the forces Israel could develop than Israel would be to the forces Iran could hope to deploy" until the end of the 2010-2020 time period. The briefing covers the use of nuclear ground bursts, fallout, longer-term death rates, and population-killing strikes. Other targets will likely include oil and gas distribution and loading facilities, desalination and water purification plants, electric power plants, and refineries--targets likely to affect the general population.

First, is there ever a "minor" use of nuclear forces?

But that isn't my main focus here.

The writer of this piece seems to imply that Iran's vulnerability to a nuclear exchange would keep it from starting a nuclear exchange with Israel. To make such an assumption, if this is the writer's intent, is a failure of cultural understanding.

It would perhaps be fair to apply Western standards and values to the state of Israel, as so much of the Israeli population emigrated to Israel from western nations, and their society and government hold with Westernized cultural values, but to attempt to apply those same cultural values to an Iranian government run by this mullacracy is to avoid the plain fact that Iran's leaders have values shaped by a radical theology all their own.

The Iranian government--and hence its rapidly expanding nuclear weapons program, is slaved to the beliefs of a radical Shia sect called the Hojjatieh, a cult within Shia Islam so radical that it was outlawed in 1983 by Ayatollah Khomeini.

As notes the Persian Journal:

According to Shi'ite Muslim teaching, Abul-Qassem Mohammad, the 12th leader whom Shi'ites consider descended from the Prophet Mohammed, disappeared in 941 but will return at the end of time to lead an era of Islamic justice.

"Our revolution's main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the 12th Imam, the Mahdi," Ahmadinejad said in the speech to Friday Prayers leaders from across the country.

"Therefore, Iran should become a powerful, developed and model Islamic society."

"Today, we should define our economic, cultural and political policies based on the policy of Imam Mahdi's return. We should avoid copying the West's policies and systems," he added, newspapers and local news agencies reported.

Ahmadinejad refers to the return of the 12th Imam, also known as the Mahdi, in almost all his major speeches since he took office in August.

A September address to the U.N. General Assembly contained long passages on the Mahdi which confused Western diplomats and irked those from Sunni Muslim countries who believe in a different line of succession from Mohammed.

This fascination has prompted wild stories to circulate.

Presidential aides have denied a popular rumor that he ordered his cabinet to write a letter to the 12th Imam and throw it down a well near the holy city of Qom where thousands of pilgrims come each week to pray and drop messages to the Imam.

But what really has tongues wagging is the possibility that Ahmadinejad's belief in the 12th Imam's return may be linked to the supposed growing influence of a secretive society devoted to the Mahdi which was banned in the early 1980s.

Founded in 1953 and used by the Shah of Iran to try to eradicate followers of the Bahai faith, the Hojjatieh Society is governed by the conviction that the 12th Imam's return will be hastened by the creation of chaos on earth.

How seriously should we take the ruling Hojjatieh sect?

The executive summary of one study provided to the U.S. military by a strategic planning contractor stated:

Ultra-religious Shia clerics and Ahmadinejad are dedicated to the near-term messianic return of the 12th Imam via the creation of an apocalypse.

I don't think it gets much clearer than that.

The contention is that not only do the Hojjatieh anticipate the "creation of chaos on earth," they actively seek to create an apocalypse. Based upon their public pronoucements and nuclear weapons research, it seems quite clear that their preferred method is to instigate a nuclear attack against Israel. They know that Israel will respond with a retaliatory nuclear strike of their own, and are in fact, are more than likely counting on it.

It is this Israeli return nuclear strike on Tehran that Ahmadinejad and the Hojjatieh are counting upon to trigger the Madhi's return.

Iran and Ahmadinejad have been very clear in their desire to see Israel "wiped off the map," with multiple threatening pronouncements, and Ahmadinejad himself seems quite convinced that he is on a mission from Allah.

Mortal concerns and fears have little importance for an Iranian leadership seemingly bent on using a nuclear war to force a messianic return. Tens of millions may perish because a once-outlawed cult thinks a nuclear war will convince a four-year-old messiah to crawl out of a well in which he's been hiding 1,066 years.

I sadly fear that Democratic Party principles of avoidance will force our government to continue to discount the Iranian nuclear threat until after Iranian missiles are already arcing in towards Tel Aviv, at which point any further action against Iran will be addressed to a relative handful of survivors.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:41 AM | Comments (12)

May 14, 2007

Al Qaeda Warns U.S. To Stop Search For Missing Soldiers

On Saturday, a U.S. patrol was ambushed near Mahmoudiya, Iraq. Four U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi soldier acting as their interpreter was killed in the ambush, and three soldiers are missing. The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), an al Qaeda front group, is claiming responsibility for the attack, and has warned the thousands of coalition forces in the area to stop looking for the missing soldiers.

While we all obviously hope that the three missing soldiers will be recovered alive, I suspect that they were never captured alive to begin with, a sad suspicion shared at Hot Air. Knowing the fate in store for them if they did surrender--brutal torture followed by a YouTubed beheading--our soldiers would most likely fight to the death.

Because of this, I suspect al Qaeda managed a successful ambush and body thievery, but captured no living prisoners.

The al Qaeda cry to quit looking for the captured soldiers was likely issued from fears that the on-going search would further disrupt al Qaeda terrorist cells and turn up weapons caches. Thus far, two terrorists have been killed, four others wounded, and 100 people have been detained as the military sweep south of Baghdad continues.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:36 PM | Comments (3)

Dollard: Starving Parasites

Pat Dollard, Hollywood agent turned combat filmmaker and IED magnet, is echoing a sentiment I've been hearing more and more from fellow combat journalists: the war in Iraq is going very badly... for al Qaeda:

Terrorists are parasites. They rely on a host body to support them. Now they can terrorize a host body into providing them support, but that will only go so far. Ultimately, the host body must be somewhat sympathetic to the terrorists, or else, by sheer dint of numbers, the members of the host body will be able to reject the terrorists. These two principles explain the entire history of Al Qaeda’s reign over Al Anbar. Al Anbar, like Al Qaeda, is a Sunni entity. The people of Al Anbar were sympathetic enough to Al Qaeda that they provided them sanctuary, support and even manpower - which is to say, the very lifeblood that this parasite required. Finally, the Sunnis of Al Anbar had enough of the bleak and empty future, and very bloody present, that comprised the entirety of Al Qaeda’s offerings. And so the host body rejected the parasite. The parasite is now in its last possible refuge, the mixed Sunni/Shiite Triangle of Death & Diyala Province areas, just south and northeast of Baghdad, respectively. My time in Iraq started there, and will likely end there. Along with Al Qaeda’s.

There is a reason neither Al Qaeda or the Iranian Shiite Insurgents have no traction in Kurdistan. There is no sympathetic and compliant host body. There is a reason Al Qaeda has no traction in the southern/eastern Shiite areas of Iraq. There is no compliant, sympathetic (which is to say, Sunni) host body. There is only one place left with enough of a sympathetic, compliant host body for Al Qaeda to keep itself alive in. This is the mixed Sunni/Shiite Triangle of Death. An appropriate appellation for the battlefield of Iraq’s Apocalypse with its Public Enemy #1. Iraqis, Al Qaeda, U.S. forces. A triangle of death, indeed.

We're not hearing very much like this from the professional media nor the U.S. military, for very understandable and strikingly similar reasons.

The media staked out their narrative to a doomed war long ago, and will only begin to back off of that position once they are sure that al Qaeda,
and the Sunni insurgency is nearing collapse. The Iraqi government, U.S. government, and Coalition military and police forces are likewise cautious about overstating successes knowing that previous claims of a faltering insurgency have turned out to be false.

But Dollard's comments are part of a low, growing rumble from observers who have seen Iraq firsthand. Bill Roggio, J.D. Johannes, and others have been noting for several months the turnaround in al Anbar province, formerly the heart of the Sunni insurgency, as the Anbar Awakening has seen the overwhelming majority of the Sunni tribes once loyal to al Qaeda and the Sunni insurgency reject the terrorists, and accept the U.S. and coalition forces as allies. It is these tribes that are now leading the hunt for al Qaeda, joining the Iraqi police and military in record numbers, and when they cannot get into official government security positions fast enough to hunt the terrorists, using their own ad hoc tribal militias to establish neighborhood security checkpoints and choke al Qaeda off and attack and kill al Qaeda aligned tribes.

This Awakening movement has spread as al Qaeda becomes the hunted in Anbar. al Qaeda continues its flight to Diyala, only to find the Sunni Awakening spreading to Diyala as well.

The media, quick to notice stumbling blocks and setbacks, seems unable to mention the obvious truth that al Qaeda and their Sunni allies, along with similar efforts by Shia militias trained and equipped by Iran, are also in their own version of a surge to counter our own.

Shia death squads will step up attacks against Sunni civilians in an effort to stoke Sunni militancy, just as the Islamic State of Iraq, a Sunni insurgent umbrella group, attempts to goad Sunnis into attacks against Shia, and al Qaeda continues to indiscriminately target Sunni, Shia, and Kurd to increases tensions among all groups.

What the U.S. military is hoping to accomplish with the COIN doctrine will not end the insurgency overnight, nor was that ever the promise. What it does intend, and where it is succeeding, is in engaging the Iraqis and helping civilians tired of war turn on Sunni, Shia, and al Qaeda militants among them.

As Dollard and others have noted, and as the British noted in Mayala, insurgencies are only viable as long as the population will support them. While it typically takes a decade or longer to completely defeat an insurgency, they rarely (never?) succeed once the bulk of the population turns against them. Once that tipping point is reached, much more blood may yet be spilled, but the final outcome all but assured.

Dollard is correct when he states al Qaeda in Iraq may end in Diyala. The tipping point against them seems to have already been reached in al Anbar, with the bulk of their former allies turning against them, and now hunting them down like dogs. As the Diyala Awakening gathers momentum, al Qaeda and aligned insurgents will no doubt mount more spectacular, bloody attacks in an attempt to intimidate the population into compliance. Like in al Anbar, those attacks are only likely to fuel anti-al Qaeda, anti-insurgency sentiment.

It is still very possible, considering the political climate, that we can still lose the war in Iraq because of its unpopularity here in the United States, and a corrupt and incompetent Iraqi government apparently more interested in personal profit than national unity and reconciliation. Our military is stretched close to its limits, and the will of Iran and Syria to continue supporting various militias and insurgent groups does not appear to lack resolve, or any real consequences for their support from either the United Nations or the United States.

The governments of the United States, Great Britain, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and perhaps a dozen other countries near and far are attempting to shape Iraq's future for their own best interests. The various religions, sects, and tribes within Iraq have formed and split alliances over the past four-plus years, attempting to do what they think is best for themselves. With all of these internal and external actors attempting to exert power and influence, it is ultimately up to the Iraqi people to determine which fate will envelope their nation. Perhaps the rise of The Awakening al Anbar and Diyala are an indication that the future they are choosing is one of hope amidst the carnage.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:20 AM | Comments (1)

May 11, 2007

Mort Kondrake's Final Solution

Writing today at RealClearPolitics, Mort Kondrake's basic solution to the problems poised by the Iraq War is genocidally specific:

Without prejudging whether President Bush's "surge" policy will work, the administration and its critics ought to be seriously thinking about a Plan B, the "80 percent solution" - also known as "winning dirty." Right now, the administration is committed to building a unified, reconciled, multisectarian Iraq - "winning clean." Most Democrats say that's what they want, too. But it may not be possible.

The 80 percent alternative involves accepting rule by Shiites and Kurds, allowing them to violently suppress Sunni resistance and making sure that Shiites friendly to the United States emerge victorious.

There is a certain simple genius to Kondrake's formulation.

If you don't like the problems poised by 20% of the population, simply eliminate the problematic population.

Why would anyone object?


Allah tackles this "solution" as well.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:33 PM | Comments (5)

Surrendercrats Threaten War Effort, Military Pay

Once again, Congressional Democrats show which side they support in the Iraq War, and it isn't ours:

The Democratic-controlled House voted Thursday night to pay for military operations in Iraq on an installment plan, defying President Bush's threat of a second straight veto in a fierce test of wills over the unpopular war.

The 221-205 vote was largely along party lines and sent the measure to a cool reception in the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is seeking a compromise with the White House and Republicans.

The bill was passed by House Democrats only as an act of political gamesmanship with our soldiers lives, as they that knew it would likely die in the Senate.

The continuing failure of anti-victory House Democrats to deliver a viable war funding bill is already impacting the military:


Delays in getting an emergency supplemental war-funding bill approved are causing disruption within the Defense Department, particularly among programs at home, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today. The Army has slowed spending in numerous areas to free up money to fully fund wartime costs since President Bush vetoed war-spending legislation because it set a date for the return of combat forces from Iraq, Gates told the Senate Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee.

The bill included $93.4 billion to help fund U.S. forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the global war on terror, but stipulated that U.S. combat troops be out of Iraq by Aug. 31, 2008. It also included costs unrelated to the war.

Bush vetoed the bill because he rejects establishing a deadline for troop withdrawals, insisting that such decisions must be based on conditions in the war zone.

Gates told Congress today that delays in getting a spending bill approved are having "a growing impact here at home."

"The Army is already trying to cope with this," he said. Spending in various programs has slowed or stopped altogether, he said. Defense contracts are being withheld; hiring of civilian employees has slowed; and bases have begun resorting to month-to-month service contracts for services and supplies.

The failure of Democrats to fund our military at war has some U.S. Servicemen wondering if their paychecks may stop. It sounds like it's time for an important action alert:

Is it possible airmen might not get paid due to the rising costs of the war?

That's what many airmen have wanted to know since the Pentagon requested to divert $1.6 billion from the Navy and Air Force personnel accounts to the Army.

The Air Force has sent conflicting answers in the past three weeks. Last month, the Air Force hinted in a statement sent to Stars and Stripes that it was possible such a move could affect airmen’s paychecks.

On Monday, an Air Force spokeswoman said that would "never" happen. A day later, Maj. Morshe Araujo said she made a mistake and such a scenario could happen if the money is not returned.

However, the Air Force is optimistic about the money being restored.

"I misspoke," said Araujo, a public affairs officer in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. "If the money is not returned or restored, there is a possibility."

Some might argue that servicemembers are underpaid, but it is not believed there has ever been a time in modern history that troops have not paid, especially while the country is at war.

Chet Curtis, director of Policy and Communications for the Air Force Association, said he couldn't recall off the top of his head whether such a thing has ever happened.

The association, an independent nonprofit Air Force advocate group, is calling upon its members to contact the Bush administration and members of Congress and urge them to boost funding for the Air Force.

The association put out an "Action Alert" on its Website under the headline: Air Force Funding Critical.

Although the Air Force is confident Congress will pass a supplemental bill and restore the funding to the personnel accounts, the service said on Tuesday it needs the money to pay their people.

But just remember...

shootOfficers

support_troops

...they support the troops.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:39 AM | Comments (10)

May 10, 2007

Now Or Later

They keep telling us we're not at war with Iran:

U.S.-led forces conducted a raid in the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City early Thursday, killing three militants as they tried to break up a cell accused of smuggling weapons from Iran to fight U.S. forces, the military said.

The raid was part of the military's 12-week-old Baghdad security plan, meant to tackle the Sunni-led insurgents and Shiite militias and bring order to the violence-wracked Iraqi capital.

Just after midnight, a joint U.S.-Iraqi force on a raid in the southern part of the Shiite slum of Sadr City, came under fire from two buildings, the military said in a statement. After a gunbattle, the soldiers called in an airstrike that killed three armed insurgents, it said.

The force was searching for a cell suspected of smuggling weapons, including the devastating explosively formed penetrators, from Iran, the military said. The group was also accused of sending militants to Iran for training, the military said. The force detained four of the suspected militants during the raid, the military said.

This on-going Iranian involvement in Iraq should force Americans, particularly Congressional Democrats and waffling Republicans, to consider what will happen if American forces precipitously withdraw from Iraq. Iran, accused of training thousands of Shia insurgents and supplying weapons to both Shia and Sunni insurgents, is posing to fill the vacuum left by an American withdrawal.

If Democrats are successful in their neo-copperhead attempts to force an American withdrawal, many experts and long-time journalists expect that the Iranian attempts to take over Iraq by proxy may result in genocide and a clear PR victory for al Qaeda. Others rightly fear that such a threat will draw Saudi Arabia into a regional war based in Iraq, where Shias funded, trained, and equipped by Iran, will square off against Iraqi Sunnis trained, funded, and equipped by Saudi Arabia.

If the proxy war is contained to Iraq, the overwhelming numerical superiority of Shias in Iraq may very well lead to a either a mass exodus of Sunnis, or a mass genocide dwarfing the civilian casualties of the Iraq War thus far. The failed state would presumably fall under Iranian control from Baghdad south.

If the war is not contained to Iraq, and open hostilities break out between Iran and Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Gulf States such as Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, we could very well see a more expanded, more violent version of the 1984-87 Tanker War. In that conflict, which resulted from the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, Iran and Iraq began targeting merchant shipping in an attempt to cut off each other's oil exports. Seventy-one merchant ships, including oil tankers, were attacked in 1984 alone, forcing Lloyds of London to increase insurance rates on tankers and leading to a twenty-five percent reduction in Gulf shipping. Since the 1980s, advances in military missile technology has made it possible for all sides potentially involved in a regional war to unilaterally stop all Persian Gulf shipping. The result of such a stoppage would threaten global oil supplies, and the economic and national security of many nations.

This is at a minimum. It could get much worse.

A U.S. pullout in 2008 could potentially lead to an economically-necessitated re-invasion of Iraq and a direct conflict with Iran within the next five years.

While Iran's naval and air force assets could be theoretically be reduced with minimal U.S. losses, a scenario predicted by DOD strategic planning contractor VII, Inc. called "Yalu II," in a January 2006 document called "Iranian President-Islamic Eschatology: Near Term Implications," posits that the Iranian military may respond to their air and naval shortcomings by sending up to 350,000 conventional Army forces, supplemented by roughly 1,800 tanks and 2,300 towed and self-propelled artillery pieces, across southern Iraq. This scenario was presented by VII before threats of a wider regional war were being discussed. I would add to VII's assessment that Iran may do more than invade southern Iraq, and may opt to attack Saudi Arabia though Kuwait, threatening, at least on paper, King Khalid Military City, the Saudi Persian Gulf city of Jubail and the Saudi military bases concentrated around Jubail, and the Saudi Capital of Riyahd itself.

Ultimately, such a direct assault on Saudi Arabia would probably lead to an Iranian defeat as their supply lines would be very vulnerable to Saudi Arabian and allied air superiority, but by then, Iran would have either captured or destroyed Iraqi and Kuwaiti oil terminals and wells. Were this scenario to play out, this would mean that Iran would control or would have destroyed 32% of Gulf oil production, based upon 2003 estimates.

This sequence of events is of course speculative.

Iran may very well be content to use their Shia militia allies to overthrow Iraq internally, and confine themselves to isolating Iraqi Sunnis and Kurds instead of eliminating them wholesale. They would then control roughly 20% of Persian Gulf oil exports directly, while still being able to threaten the 90% of Persian Gulf oil exported by supertanker through the Straits of Hormuz as they continue down the path of developing nuclear weapons.

What is the best way to head off either scenario?

The answer is obvious: keep Coalition forces engaged in Iraq targeting Sunni and Shia extremist cells like the one American soldiers attacked today. Force the Iraq government into making progress on unresolved issues, and perhaps consider replacing Prime Minster Maliki if he fails to make progress, by supporting other candidates for the position. Keep engaging Sunni and Shia moderates, while building up Iraqi police and Army forces. While internal Iraqi groups are relying on external forces to build their powerbases, America should continue to support that national cultural, political, and security needs of Iraq. Continue the COIN strategy to root out insurgents and develop regional and national Iraqi unity. Continue to support insurgent movements in Iran to destabilize the mullacracy.

It should be blindingly obvious to all sides concerned that a failure to resolve the political and security needs of Iraq now will only necessitate a later, perhaps larger and longer military reentry into the region, after what many predict will be a large and unnecessary loss of civilian lives.

After four years of muddled strategies, real progress is being made in Iraq. Al Anbar, long the home of the Sunni insurgency and al Qaeda's launching ground, has turned against al Qaeda and is joining the political process, developments that have been reported on scarcely in the western media. A similar movement is now emerging in Diyala Province, as Iraqis target, hunt and kill al Qaeda terrorists and the insurgents of the Islamic State of Iraq.

You will have a very hard time discovering this through the traditional media, however, as they tend to underestimate the importance of such tectonic cultural shifts which are very hard to translate into a press dominated by "if it bleeds, it leads" philosophy.

The groups primarily active in an opposition to the "surge" of American troops are al Qaeda and their allies in the Islamic State of Iraq, who are staging their own counter-surge, aimed as much at western media as the Iraqi people.

If you note news accounts of the last several months as the surge began, the types of attacks in Iraq shifted.

Sectarian attacks have dropped substantially, as al Qaeda and the ISI have shift to an intensified pattern of often randomized car and truck bombings meant to capture media attention and draw away from the fact that their internal support within Iraq is faltering. The goal of their media campaign is transparent; make it appear that the situation on the ground in Iraq is unchanged or becoming worse, thereby increasing American resistance to remaining in Iraq, even as their own base of support falters and threatens outright collapse.

Indeed, the U.S. military and astute observers predicted this, and so they expect an increase in spectacular media-generating attacks on civilians and Coalition military and police casualties as these forces more forcefully project themselves into areas and increase pressure on anti-government forces.

If you listen to our men in the field—not the Washington politicians who say they will refuse to believe signs of progress, or lie about what they have heard—you will hear many opinions, but the one most common is that they see a real difference in Iraq since the implementation of the COIN strategy. They are even petitioning Congress for courage, and not to give up, even when it is their lives on the line.

We're going to have to finish this war. The only question is whether Democrats lead the cut-and-run now and give al Qaeda and Iran a clear victory setting up a potential genocide, or whether or not we continue the successes now being seen in al Anbar, Baghdad, and Diyala.

The later approach will save for more Iraqi and American lives in the long run. I hope we have strong enough leadership that we only have to fight this war once, but with Democrats still attempting to surrender to al Qaeda and other Islamofascists, and the far left increasingly in bed with Islamofascists, I fear all we may accomplish is a brief, bloody intermission before we refight this war on a larger, bloodier scale.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:56 AM | Comments (5)

May 09, 2007

Close Enough

If you use bloglines and have the ABC News International feed, you might have seen something like this today:

bloglines

It you actually clicked the link, however, you'd end up here.

Do you have questions about situation in Darfur? Send your questions and see them answered next week on our 24-hour news network, ABC News Now.

Screen Cap:

switch

I've got a question, Terry: Why can't ABC News tell the difference between Darfur and Iraq?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:31 PM | Comments (1)

Four More Arrested in 7/7 London Bombing Plot

Via CNN:

British police arrested the wife of one of the July 7, 2005 suicide bombers as well as three other suspects in early morning terror-related raids Wednesday.

While the identities of the suspects have yet to be officially released, sources told CNN the woman being held is 29-year-old Hasina Patel, the widow of Mohammad Sidique Khan, one of the 7/7 suicide bombers.

Patel and two men aged of 30 and 34 were arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command in the West Yorkshire, England area. A fourth man, 22, was arrested in West Midlands.

A statement from Scotland Yard said, the four were arrested under the country's terrorism laws "on suspicion of the commission, preparation, or instigation of acts of terrorism."

The arrests were made in a "pre-planned, intelligence-led operation," the statement said, as part of an ongoing investigation into the July 7 attacks on London's transportation system that killed 52 people and injured 700.

The arrests are part of an on-going investigation to help roll-up the support network that enabled four suicide bombers to carry out the series of attacks that occured almost to years ago, and more arrests are possible.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:13 AM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2007

The Iranian Minefield

A Pajamas Media exclusive:

Maj. Martin Weber, an explosives expert, is trying to walk through a political mine field with me.

As with an ordinary mine field, you have to be very careful where you put your emphasis. Stress the wrong truth and either the left or the right wants to blow you up.

Here at Camp Victory, a sprawling concrete and razor wire American base that wraps around Baghdad International Airport, Maj. Weber was trying to explain how to negotiate that mine field. On the one side he wanted me to know me that the captured weapons on the table before us were — definitely, no doubt about it, absolutely — from Iran. On the other hand, he avoided drawing the obvious conclusion that Iran is supplying America’s enemies inside Iraq.

That simple and obvious conclusion would anger the Democratic leadership in Congress, much of the press corp, and a large swarth of the antiwar set.

Bear this is mind, when you watch this exclusive Pajamas Media video shot in Iraq. The video offers startling new evidence of Iran’s involvement in the insurgency. It is the first up-close, online video showing captured Iranian weapons. These particular weapons have not been shown to the public before.

There is video of the interview at the link.

As a side note, I've been attempting to follow-up on the capture of over 12% of Iran's HS50 precision sniper rifle procurement in Iraq first reported in mid-February, without any response thus far from MNF-I PAO.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:59 AM | Comments (13)

Child Mortality Discrepancy?

Writing in the UK Independent, Andrew Buncombe states:

Two wars and a decade of sanctions have led to a huge rise in the mortality rate among young children in Iraq, leaving statistics that were once the envy of the Arab world now comparable with those of sub-Saharan Africa.

A new report shows that in the years since 1990, Iraq has seen its child mortality rate soar by 125 per cent, the highest increase of any country in the world. Its rate of deaths of children under five now matches that of Mauritania.

Jeff MacAskey, head of health for the Save the Children charity, which published the report, said: "Iraq, Botswana and Zimbabwe all have different reasons for making the least amount of progress on child mortality. Whether it's the impact of war, HIV/Aids or poverty the consequences are equally devastating. Yet other countries such as Malawi and Nepal have shown that despite conflict and poverty child mortality rates can be reversed."

Figures collated by the charity show that in 1990 Iraq's mortality rate for under-fives was 50 per 1,000 live births. In 2005 it was 125. While many other countries have higher rates - Angola, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, for instance, all have rates above 200 - the increase in Iraq is higher than elsewhere.

Is this an apples-to-oranges comparison?

According to figures from the CIA World Factbook there are roughly 864,588 live births in Iraq every year (about 31.44 for every 1,000 citizens). In 2003 there was an infant mortality rate in Iraq of 55.16 per 1,000 births, or about 47,690 infant deaths.

In 2006 that infant mortality rate has dropped to 48.64 deaths per 1,000 births. Or about 42,503 infant deaths/year. Or about 5,187 fewer dead infants every year than in 2003.

So is it safe to say that we’ve saved roughly (and these numbers are, admittedly, very rough) 15,000 infant lives since invading Iraq?

Note that the statistics cited by Buncombe are addressing the death rates of children under five between 1990-today, and Port's information isolates infant mortality from the time period of 2003-2006. Those differences noted, there seems to be a huge possible discrepancy between the rough number of 2005 under-five deaths reported by Save the Children through Buncombe (125) and the infant mortality rate of 55.16-48.64/1,000 determined by Port.

Both numbers could be correct, but for Save the Children's figures to be accurate based upon the CIA estimate of 864,588 live births, it would mean that 12.5% of Iraqi children under five, or 108,074 Iraqi children, died before the age of five in 2005 alone.

Does that figure seem plausible?

If it does, why has the professional media done such a miserable job of reporting the staggering losses of children in Iraq, which would seem to dwarf most total estimates of combat-related deaths?

If it isn't accurate, why hasn't Buncombe done a better job of fact-checking his sources?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:15 AM | Comments (9)

Clever Little Weapons



Rattlesnake D: The Missile

Michael Yon's latest dispatch Rattlesnake, chronicles the nighttime hunting of insurgent IED teams in southern Iraq.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

Six Arrested in New Jersey Islamic Terror Plot

Via WNBC.com:

Six men from New Jersey have been arrested in an alleged terror plot against soldiers at Fort Dix, according investigators.

Investigators said the men planned to use automatic weapons to enter Fort Dix and kill as many soldiers as they could at the N.J. base. Fort Dix was just one of several military and security locations allegedly scouted by this group, authorities said.

[snip]

The six suspects arrested Monday night will face terror conspiracy charges. Three of the men are brothers, all believed to be islamic radicals. Authorities have told Newschannel 4 that some of the men were born in Albania and the former Yugoslavia. Investigators said most of the suspects have spent several years here in the U.S.

According to WPVI, the six men attempted to purchase fully automatic AK-47s from an arms dealer working with the FBI. WABC describes the six men as all being ethnic Albanians. Their immigration status was not clear from news accounts. WCAU notes that the men traveled from South Jersey to the Pocano mountains "to practice firing automatic weapons." If accurate, this means that investigators allowed the men to obtain the fully automatic AK-47s before affecting an arrest. CBS News states that this was a "homegrown" terror plot, and that there were no known ties to any international terror organization, including al Qaeda.

The New Jersey Star-Ledger presents perhaps the most comprehensive account to date, which confirms that the attack busted in the planning stages was an intended act of jihad, that the men were arrested while attempting to purchase the AK-47s from the FBI informant dealer, and that the men did not practice with automatic weapons in the Poconos, but instead, used paintball guns and other "real weapons."

The Star-Ledger also shows that while the men may not have been part of an international terror cell, they were certainly inspired by al Qaeda:

The would-be attackers, ethnic Albanians who had been under surveillance by the FBI for months, practiced by shooting paintball guns and real weapons in a rural area of the Poconos, one source said. They also allegedly watched jihadist videos in which Osama bin Laden urged them toward martyrdom.

"They were prepared to die," said the law enforcement source. "We became increasingly convinced this was for real and these guys were ready to roll."

The FBI had the group under surveillance for more than a year, the source said. The men had scouted out Dover Air Force Base and Fort Monmouth before settling on Fort Dix, a base that is used to mobilize troops to Iraq, said the source.

The men - several of whom were in the same family - had videotaped their practice sessions in the Poconos, the source said. That videotape, in which they railed against America, led to their arrests.

The men made the mistake of bringing it to a retail store, seeking to get a copy burned to a DVD, according to one of the sources. A store employee who later watched the tape called the FBI who began immediately investigating.

The one question I have about the above Star-Ledger account is perhaps a quibble, but something I'd like to have cleared up; did they watch a generally addressed martyrdom video extolling Muslims towards jihad, or as this account states, did they watch a video urging them towards martyrdom? I suspect the former, as if the latter is the case, it would seem to prove a direct al Qaeda link.

Note that the Islamists here were anything but intelligent, bringing their homegrown jihadi video to a retail store to burn it to DVD, where a concerned and alert employee contacted the FBI, which launched the investigation.

I hope President Bush will quietly award a Presidential Medal of Freedom to both the video store employee and the gun dealer for their roles in helping break up this attack in the planning stages.

Update: Heh. Did the tip come from Tony Soprano?

Update: Allah is tracking this story at well over at Hot Air.

Update: CNN reports that one of the suspects was Jordanian and another was Turkish, with the rest being Yugoslavian.

The Washington Post adds that the suspects have lived in the United States for "several years."

CBS3 provides more detail on the suspects:

Sources said the suspects included:

- Three brothers from Yugoslavia who came to the country illegally and were living in Cherry Hill.

- A Yugoslavian native who was living legally in Williamstown.

- A Turkey native who was arrested in the 2100 block of Tremont Street in Philadelphia

- A Jordan National living in Pennsauken who was working as a cab driver. He was taken into custody while in his cab at the Philadelphia International Airport.

Officials said the men attempted to purchase AK-47s from an arms dealer secretly cooperating with law enforcement agents.

Sources said the suspects trained for the plot in an area near Routes 30 and 380 in the Poconos. The suspects apparently had maps and had done surveillance on Fort Dix in preparation for the plot.

If the CBS3 account is correct, at least three of the six plotters were here illegally, and all were here for a least a year, if not several years.

Update: I formally move that we call this the "Duka, Duka, Mohammed Jihad."

Update: A total of ten men were seen on the video that launched the investigation, as reported in this document obtained by The Smoking Gun.

Update: A sampling of liberal blog reaction: The Agonist: "...when are these insignificant cases going to stop being blown out of proportion?" Talking Points Memo: "It's always hard for me to see how these aren't as serious as they appear. But there is a record." Middle Earth Journal: "This will probably turn out to be another José Padilla moment but it will be good for a lot of ape like chest pounding by the wingnut islamophobes." Mahablog: "The basic story is that six Islamic radicals were planning to attack Fort Dix and kill soldiers as part of a jihad against America. This is what the Department of Justice is saying, anyhow, so take that with a grain of salt."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:52 AM | Comments (27)

May 04, 2007

Because You Never Know When Global Warming Is Going to Fly Into a Building

A ship of fools, if ever there was one:

Senior House Republicans are complaining about Democrats' plans to divert "scarce" intelligence funds to study global warming.

The House next week will consider the Democrat-crafted Intelligence Authorization bill, which includes a provision directing an assessment of the effects that climate change has on national security.

"Our job is to steal secrets," said Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the ranking Republican on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

"There are all kinds of people analyzing global warming, the Democrats even have a special committee on this," he told The Washington Times. "There's no value added by the intelligence community here; they have no special expertise, and this takes money and resources away from other threats."

Democrats, who outnumber Republicans on the committee, blocked the minority from stripping the warming language from the bill.

Intelligence panel Chairman Silvestre Reyes, Texas Democrat, said the climate-change study is one of several shifts his party has made to intelligence policy.

"We're concerned that global warming might impact our ability to maintain national security," he told The Times, describing the idea as "cutting edge."

As Ace notes, Reyes, the chairman of Intelligence Panel, is the man that doesn't know the difference between Shia and Sunni, or or which al Qaeda is, and had no clue at all about the nature of Hezbollah.

Of course, he belong to a Democratic House whose Speaker doesn't even know that al Qaeda is in Iraq, so that bit of incompetence is sadly par for the course.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:29 PM | Comments (8)

Lost War Updates

A. J. Strata reports that al Qaeda in Iraq has lost its second caliphate capital in recent months, first losing their stronghold in Ramadi, and now, their base in the Tahrir neighborhood of Baqouba.

The U.S. military has confirmed that not one, but two senior al Qaeda commanders were killed north of Baghdad earlier this week.

Bill Roggio notes the continued expansion of the Anbar Salvation Council, and notes that one of the original tribes that supported al Qaeda in Iraq has flipped and joined the war against the terrorists. Ten Sunni tribes have turned to war against al Qaeda in the last month alone.

And last but by no means least, Lawrence Kaplan notes what most of us have long known: Congressional Democrats approach the Iraq War from a position of willful ignorance.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:28 PM | Comments (2)

Iraqi EFPS Prove to Be Duds; Iranian EFPs Still Lethal Threat

Several month's ago, Andrew Cockburn attacked President Bush and the United States military in the Los Angeles Times, for the President saying that the EFPs --explosively-formed penetrators--being used successfully against American military forces in Iraq with a great degree of effect came from Iran:

PRESIDENT BUSH HAS now definitively stated that bombs known as explosively formed penetrators — EFPs, which have proved especially deadly for U.S. troops in Iraq — are made in Iran and exported to Iraq. But in November, U.S. troops raiding a Baghdad machine shop came across a pile of copper disks, 5 inches in diameter, stamped out as part of what was clearly an ongoing order. This ominous discovery, unreported until now, makes it clear that Iraqi insurgents have no need to rely on Iran as the source of EFPs.

The truth is that EFPs are simple to make for anyone who knows how to do it. Far from a sophisticated assembly operation that might require state supervision, all that is required is one of those disks, some high-powered explosive (which is easy to procure in Iraq) and a container, such as a piece of pipe. I asked a Pentagon analyst specializing in such devices how much each one would cost to make. "Twenty bucks," he answered after a brief calculation. "Thirty at most."

Cockburn's venom and naked partisanship were obvious. What wasn't so obvious is that Cockburn didn't know what he was talking about.

While crude Iraqi machine shops can manufacture crude components, the EFPs they can manufacture are no serious threat to American armor.

Iraqi fighters have been making their own versions of the weapons, but so far none has been effective against U.S. forces, Odierno said. The Iraqi-made projectiles, using brass and copper melted on stoves, have failed to fully penetrate U.S. armor and are more likely to be used against Iraqi forces, whose vehicles often have thinner armored protection than U.S. vehicles, U.S. military officials said.

"We have not seen a homemade one yet that's executed properly," Odierno said, adding that such weapons are not a major concern "as of yet."

In short, Cockburn's assertion that "EFPs are simple to make for anyone who knows how to do it," betrays his ignorance of the difference between theory and practice. Theoretically, anyone could presumably find plans to build an EFP, but without the right materials, training, and manufacturing equipment, they could not make an EFP with the capability of defeating advanced armor.

It is not as simple to manufacture a competent EFP as Cockburn and others have mislead. Someone should alert the media, but then again, the majority of the media doesn't really care.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:33 AM | Comments (21)

May 03, 2007

Two Arrested Smuggling Iranian EFPs in Sadr City

Oui?

US forces arrested two Iraqis suspected of smuggling weapons and armour-piercing explosives from Iran in a dawn raid Thursday into Baghdad's Shiite slum Sadr City, the military announced.

The arrests came ahead of a possible first meeting between the foreign ministers of Iran and United States since 1980, at an international conference on the future of Iraq in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

"The individuals targeted during the raid are suspected members of a secret cell terrorist network known for facilitating the transport of weapons and explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, from Iran to Iraq," the military said.

The statement said the network was also training Iraqi militants in Iran.

The CENTCOM release this story was based upon is here.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

Pressure

The leader of the Islamic State of Iraq has been killed:

US and Iraqi forces have killed the head of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), an umbrella group of Sunni insurgents which includes Al-Qaeda, Iraq's deputy interior minister said Thursday.

Minister Hussein Ali Kamal said the insurgent leader known as Omar al-Baghdadi was killed in western Baghdad. "His body is under the control of the interior ministry. His body has been identified," he told AFP.

Separately, US military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Chris Garver said the military would hold a news conference later on Thursday to announce a "recent success against a senior leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq."

Unlike the claimed but unconfirmed killing of al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who was reportedly killed earlier this week in a firefight with one of a number of Sunni tribal militias formerly aligned with al Qaeda, who have now joined with Coalition forces, al-Baghdadi's body has been claimed and apparently identified.

For the roundup of this story, go to Pajamas Media.


al-Baghdadi's death is properly categorized as a "big fish;" al-Masri, as Dan Riehl noted, once declared allegiance to al-Baghdadi.

This news comes as Evan Kohlmann notes that the al Qaeda coalition continues to fracture:

In the wake of the recent and very public rift between the Sunni Islamic Army of Iraq (IAI) and Al-Qaida's "Islamic State", yet more cracks are suddenly beginning to show in the unified jihadist coalition that Al-Qaida has been trying to assemble in Sunni regions of Iraq. Today, the IAI--along with factions from at least two other predominant Sunni militant groups, the Mujahideen Army and the notorious Ansar al-Sunnah Army--have officially announced the formation of their own separate political coalition: "The Reformation and Jihad Front" (RJF). This new front would seem to be a direct challenge to the authority of Al-Qaida's "Islamic State" and is said to enjoy support from Sunni Islamist circles (like Ansar al-Sunnah) which have, in the past, worked closely with Al-Qaida.

Kohlmann goes on to note that while the RJF is no ally of American nor Iraqi democracy, it poses a significant political threat to the future of al Qaeda in Iraq, perhaps even more significant than the formation of the Anbar Salvation Council.

Marc Lynch notes of the RJF that:

While the language is typically religious, the focus is exclusively Iraqi, and says nothing about wider global jihad.

As a result, the group should have more appeal to the various Sunni insurgent factions that are more nationalistic in their goals, and thus lessen support for al Qaeda in Iraq.

"Divide and conquer" was the original aim al Qaeda and the Sunni insurgency, as they hoped to capture popular Iraqi support and use that support against the Iraqi government and the Coalition. It will be very interesting to see how the media decides to note the now obvious fact that it is al Qaeda and it's aligned Sunni groups that are fracturing, factionalizing, and turning on one another.

Update: A "Twofer?" Over at Hot Air, Bryan is running with a Washington Post article where General William Caldwell has confirmed that Muharib Abdul-Latif al-Jubouri, al-Qaida’s information minister, has been killed, a fact confirmed by DNA tests on the body:

Caldwell said the U.S. does not have the bodies of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State of Iraq, or Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, and doesn't know of "anybody that does."

He said the military had conducted numerous operations against al-Qaida in Iraq in the last six days.

Al-Jubouri was killed while trying to resist detention in an operation about four miles west of the Taji air base north of Baghdad early Tuesday, and the body was initially identified by photos, then confirmed by DNA testing Wednesday, he said.

Meanwhile, Bryan notes that Iraqi media sites such as Aswat al Iraq are still claiming al-Baghdadi's death, and even purport to have video of the body.

Who is right?

IraqSlogger isn't sure, but states that CNN is claiming that al-Baghdadi and Al-Jubouri may very well be the same person. I couldn't find that claim at CNN, so the statement only adds to the confusion.

The overall facts remain the same, regardless of which al Qaeda leader specifically died: al Qaeda in Iraq is being hunted, cornered, and killed or captured, and the pace of such operations seems to be increasing.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:37 AM | Comments (1)

May 02, 2007

Risible Tensions

If al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri was killed in Iraq in a clash yesterday as reported, it appears that tribes that are part of the Sunni Awakening will get credit for the kill:

A local leader from a village near Taji, Muhammad Fadhil of Nibaie, said he heard explosions and gunfire from Monday night through Tuesday morning. He believed the sounds came from clashes between al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters and men from the Falahat tribe and a tribal coalition known as the Anbar Salvation Council. Fadhil also said U.S. and Iraqi forces eventually cordoned off the area.

The Anbar Salvation Council is a Sunni group formerly loyal to al Qaeda and the insurgency that has since joined forces with the Iraqi government and coalition forces. The tribal militias have fought pitched battles against al Qaeda, and has killed or captured hundreds of terrorists over the course of the past few months.

CNN, as befitting their political bias, arrives to the party late:

Reports of fighting between al Qaeda in Iraq and Sunni militants surfaced Tuesday, the latest hints of rising tensions between the two allied groups.

Other reports have emerged this year of tensions between Sunni fighters and the Sunni-dominated al Qaeda in Iraq, particularly from Anbar province, long a favored turf for indigenous Sunni insurgents and foreign fighters infiltrating Iraq from Syria.

The Awakening has been fighting tooth and claw against al Qaeda for months in battles involving hundreds of men at a time, (see the Roggio links above, and feel free to Google others), and CNN sees "hints of rising tensions?"

One can only wonder what maelstrom would force them to actually use the word "combat."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:53 AM | Comments (4)

May 01, 2007

Yon: Desires of the Human Heart

A two-part photo essay from embed Mike Yon, embedded with I-4 Cavalry (Fort Riley, Kansas) at COP Amanche, Baghdad:

Part I

Part II

Proud Mother

Mike writes of this photo, taken from Part II:

"I asked the woman above if she was the mom, but the camera had already captured the answer."

Cute Kid. Beaming Mom. These are among the people I worry about when I see Harry Reid declare the war "lost." If Reid and others are allowed to force a loss, what kind of future can this mother and child have?

Looking Out

No photo touches me more than these Iraqi children, particularly the girl in red, that Yon photographed last year in Iraq near the Iranian border.

Something about her haunts me. Perhaps it is her strength and sadness, or her passing resemblance to my niece.

I want these children to have a future that is better than their nation's horrific past decades or bloody present. I simply don't understand how we can help provide anything like that by declaring they aren't worth it, and running away.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:56 PM | Comments (3)

al-Masri's Rumored Death Shows Fruits of Sunni Awakening

The leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, was reportedly killed in a firefight today between al Qaeda and what has been described as a battle between insurgent groups by the Guardian, or by local Sunni tribesmen according to CNN. The account remains to be confirmed, and it must be noted that similar accounts in the past have been incorrect.

Both claims of who carried out the attack could be accurate, but the CNN account, which describes the site of the conflict as "a bridge in an area under Sunni tribal control," sounds like a description consistent with the Sunni tribal militias aligned with the al-Anbar "Awakening" movement, as described by combat filmmaker and blogger JD Johannes in this recent entry to his blog at Outside the Wire:

Driving along the four-lane highway from Habbaniyah to Ramadi there are the usual coalition check points, Iraqi Army Outposts, markets, black market gas stations and Police Stations.

But, off the main highway, on the access roads leading back into the Euphrates canal country, every half mile, gun men wearing Keyfahs and wielding AK-47s man road blocks--and they are the best allies we can have against the jihadists.

[snip]

Last Summer few Sheiks, notably around Ramadi flipped to the coalition and government side of the conflict.

The tribes sent levies to the Police Academies in Baghdad and Amman, Jordan. They have also started taking matters into their own hands with some men from each clan and tribe defending their villages.

What I saw in Husabayah Jawal was not the Iraqi Police or the Iraqi Army, but the beginings of the end of the insurgency in Iraq.

Whether they are the Sons of Al Anbar, Sawa, TAA, the militia or the Tribal Neighborhood Watch, tribes and clans across the Euphrates river valley are taking charge of their own security with back up from the Marines.

[snip]

The Iraq variant of the Home Guard emerged last year as many of the top sheiks, some who had opposed the coalition and some who had a foot in both camps saw that AQIZ was not following through on their promises and that the coalition was following through on their promises.

The other point that flipped the Sheiks is the simple fact that no one except for the hard core jihadists want to live under Sharia law--which is all the jihadists have to offer.

The Sheiks, sub-sheiks, former military leaders including a hero of the Iran/Iraq war who lived in the Khalidiayah area began the process of standing up neighborhood watch check points.

The neighborhood watch is supported by the Police District and Mayor. The Marines keep a close eye on the volunteers who man the check points but have no official involvement in their activities.

The Anbar Awakening is allowing one of the key aspects of counter insurgency operations to begin--population control and control of movement in and out of areas.

This firefight may have either been "red-on-red" fighting between an insurgent group and al Qaeda, or it could be the action of a tribal militia loyal to the "Awakening" and the Iraqi government.

If the former is correct and the firefight was a "red-on red" between insurgent groups, then it shows more evidence of a widening, lethal rift between various elements of a Sunni insurgency, an insurgency that has been showing increasing signs of fragmentation for months.

If the firefight was between al Qaeda and local Sunni militiamen loyal to the Awakening, then this battle is part of a trend that shows the vulnerability of al Qaeda and mobile insurgents to the "Home Guard" militias, local groups loyal to Sheiks aligning with the Iraqi government and coalition forces that know on sight whether or not people belong to a certain area. It is also worth mentionthat both accounts could very well be true, as these are not exclusive states of being with Sunni tribes in a state of flux.

This battle is one of many that has occurred in Iraq in the past few months as the Sunni Awakening that started last summer continues to bear fruit, further fracturing the insurgency as they turn on al Qaeda and the increasingly fewer number of Sunni tribes that see fighting the Iraqi government and coalition forces as a viable strategy.

While civilian and military casualties continue to mount in Iraq, the essential nature of the conflict has radically evolved, a fact under-reported in a world press that can understand simple concepts like body counts, but cannot or will not understand the underlying motivations and actors.

The original Sunni insurgency in Iraq that fought to overthrow or undermine the fledgling Iraqi government is not dead, but it is certainly, unequivocally, in the process of dying.

Today, the body counts continue to be high, but those dying in the string of horrific string of car and truck bomb attacks over the past few months are not being killed by popularly-supported Sunni insurgents, but instead, are being attacked by elements of al Qaeda. 80 to 90-percent of those carrying out suicide bombing in Iraq are not Iraqis, just as so many of the lethal EFP attacks being carried out against Coalition forces are the work of Shias that receive training and weaponry in Iran. Foreign actors are increasing taking the lead from the locals in the war against the Iraqi government.

Why does this matter?

Native-borne insurgencies are among the toughest of conflicts to bring to a successful resolution. The French learned this hard lesson in Vietnam and Algeria, as we learned that lesson in Vietnam. But native insurgencies can be defeated, as French Lt. Col. David Galula demonstrated in the areas under his control in Algeria, and as the British showed in the Malaysian Emergency.

Insurgencies that receive more external support than internal support are far more vulnerable to be defeated, for obvious reasons. Without internal support, foreign fighters and insurgent groups run a far greater risk of being identified, fixed, and destroyed. As a result, the current situation in Iraq is more winnable than it was a year ago.

Those critics that maintain that the war in Iraq is "lost," or that refuse to admit that al Qaeda or Iran are the key, driving forces behind the remaining Sunni and Shia militias and insurgent groups, are deluding themselves. Saying that "nothing has changed" is not only an abdication of responsibility, it is an abdication of reality.

Sunnis tribesmen engaged with al Qaeda this morning, as they have time and again and with increasing frequency over the past year as the Awakening grows. Allah's important influence aside, they are also undoubtedly switching sides because Iraq is their home, and they want to be on the winning side when this war concludes. Many have determined that the Iraqi government and their coalition allies must and will be that winning side.

Much as changed in Iraq since the Sunni Awakening began last summer.

We have a radically new strategy for fighting the war, being implemented by a new commanding general, under a new Secretary of Defense. We have crucial new allies, as tribes that formerly supported the insurgency have rebelled against it to form a new political party and re-engage in the political process, even as they hunt and kill al Qaeda. These Sunni tribes have engaged the Iraqi government and coalition troops as allies, declaring:

"We have decided that by helping you," he said, "we are helping God."

The war, it seems may be in the process of being won in Iraq in mid-2007, even as war critics declaring this war "lost" are stuck in time, in a much different Iraq War of early 2006.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:58 AM | Comments (2)

April 30, 2007

Iraq War Saves Iraqi Lives?

Via Ace, something at Say Anything that qualifies as fascinating if true:

According to figures from the CIA World Factbook there are roughly 864,588 live births in Iraq every year (about 31.44 for every 1,000 citizens). In 2003 there was an infant mortality rate in Iraq of 55.16 per 1,000 births, or about 47,690 infant deaths.

In 2006 that infant mortality rate has dropped to 48.64 deaths per 1,000 births. Or about 42,503 infant deaths/year. Or about 5,187 fewer dead infants every year than in 2003.

So is it safe to say that we’ve saved roughly (and these numbers are, admittedly, very rough) 15,000 infant lives since invading Iraq? I think that would be in the ballpark.

And just think of that. 15,000 lives saved.

The anti-war folks may be quick to respond to that number with talk about the approximate 62,570 Iraqi civilians who have died in Iraq since the invasion over four years ago, a number that works out to about 15,323 dead civilians a year, but I’d point out that fewer Iraqis are dying now in the violence in Iraq than were dying under Saddam’s cruel regime.

According to this article the Documental Centre for Human Rights in Iraq has compiled information on over 600,000 civilian executions in Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s regime. That’s probably low as its just the executions we know about and it doesn’t include those who died because Saddam diverted money from the UN’s humanitarian oil-for-food program into his own coffers, but we’ll use it anyway. If we consider that Saddam Hussein was in power for 24 years, those 600,000 executions puts his yearly death toll at about 25,000/year.

So even with a conservative estimate as to the number of civilian deaths under Saddam there are still 10,000 fewer civilian deaths in that country per year now.

I think these figures and the conclusions reached are very much open for criticism, and I, for one, think Rob Port may be wrong with his figures.

Let's use another set of figures that Port chose not to use, those that estimate the numbers of Iraqis and other local regional military and civilian lives killed as a result of Saddam's two elective wars, the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, and the 1990-91 Gulf War, to get a better idea of those casualties directly attributed to Saddam's regime prior to the 2003 invasion.

After all, it hardly seems fair to factor in Iraqi casualties that were a result of our 2003 invasion, without also factoring in casualty estimates that were a result of Saddam's invasions as well.

Wikipedia notes that roughly a half million Iranians, including Iranian soldiers, militiamen, and civilians were killed or wounded as a result of Saddam's first elective war, and Iraq suffered roughly 375,000 casualties to soldiers, militias and civilians.

Hard numbers are tough to come by and may never specifically be known, but for the sake of argument, let's estimate that of the 875,000 total casualties, that 25-percent were fatalities. This gives us a rough estimate of fatalities of 218,750 for this war.

Also worth noting are the number of deaths of Iraqis that can be linked to Saddam's 1990 invasion of Kuwait and his 1991 expulsion.

Once again :Wikipedia notes that the estimates are imprecise, but that Iraqi's army probably suffered about 20,000 military casualties. The Wikipedia entry doesn't mention the Kuwaiti deaths that resulted from Saddam's invasion. I'll thrown out an even 1,000 for argument's sake, and will update if anyone can find an accurate source.

All told, combining these new figures with those compiled by Rob Port and cited above, means that Saddam is responsible for roughly 839,750 deaths, even when excluding all Coalition casualties that resulted in expelling Saddam's military from Kuwait in 1991 through today.

When combat deaths resulting from his elective wars are added to his civilian executions, Saddam was responsible for about 34,990 deaths/year during his reign, not 25,000 deaths/year.

This would apparently mean that there are far more than 10,000 military and civilian lives in the region being saved per year as result of our invasion, but those numbers are open to be challenged, due to my well known personal incompatibility with anything resembling math.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:24 PM | Comments (10)

April 27, 2007

Scorched Earth

A Thomas Ricks article at the Washington Post points to an article in the Armed Forces Journal by Lt. Col. Paul Yingling that blasts the failures of the general officer corps (past and present) and politicians in preparing for and fighting the Long War.

It's simply brilliant.

I strongly urge you to read the entire article, and for that matter, bookmark it, so you can return to it later.

There will be many who will read Yingling's article and attempt to spin, twist or varnish it into an attack against particular generals (active duty or retired), specific Presidents, and specific Congresses.

To do so completely misunderstands the article, and the systemic nature of the problem.

What Yingling is attempting to convey, if I understand his article correctly, is that the problems being experienced by our military in Iraq today began a half century ago. The United States was successful in World War Two because of it's ability to fight a large-scale, highly mobile, high-tech war. As a result, the general staff of the time focused on their successes and built a military for the next half century to fight that kind of war. They never learned from French failures or limited successes in Indochina or Algeria, and therefore, repeated the same failures in Vietnam. The moderate successes and lessons that should have been learned as a result of this conflict by the military and the Executive and Legislative branches were quickly discarded.

As a result, we were not on any level prepared to engage in what should have been predictable counterinsurgency operations, and did not have any competent active duty or retired general officers to advise Congress or the Executive Branch.

Yingling is careful not to blame any specific individuals, and it bears repeating that no specific individuals should be blamed. This is an institutional problem crossing several institutions, civilian and military, going back decades.

There are those tempted to use Yingling's article to attack specific individuals (as indeed, WaPo's Ricks has done, as have several bloggers so far). More journalists and bloggers more interested in the sounds of their own voices and pushing their own agendas than actually learning something, will likely continue this trend.

Sadly, it seems, Yingling may be a modern day Cassandra, offering up prophetic advice that other chose to ignore.

But as Yingling concludes, all is not lost:

This article began with Frederick the Great's admonition to his officers to focus their energies on the larger aspects of war. The Prussian monarch's innovations had made his army the terror of Europe, but he knew that his adversaries were learning and adapting. Frederick feared that his generals would master his system of war without thinking deeply about the ever-changing nature of war, and in doing so would place Prussia's security at risk. These fears would prove prophetic. At the Battle of Valmy in 1792, Frederick's successors were checked by France's ragtag citizen army. In the fourteen years that followed, Prussia's generals assumed without much reflection that the wars of the future would look much like those of the past. In 1806, the Prussian Army marched lockstep into defeat and disaster at the hands of Napoleon at Jena. Frederick's prophecy had come to pass; Prussia became a French vassal.

Iraq is America's Valmy. America's generals have been checked by a form of war that they did not prepare for and do not understand. They spent the years following the 1991 Gulf War mastering a system of war without thinking deeply about the ever changing nature of war. They marched into Iraq having assumed without much reflection that the wars of the future would look much like the wars of the past. Those few who saw clearly our vulnerability to insurgent tactics said and did little to prepare for these dangers. As at Valmy, this one debacle, however humiliating, will not in itself signal national disaster. The hour is late, but not too late to prepare for the challenges of the Long War. We still have time to select as our generals those who possess the intelligence to visualize future conflicts and the moral courage to advise civilian policymakers on the preparations needed for our security. The power and the responsibility to identify such generals lie with the U.S. Congress. If Congress does not act, our Jena awaits us.

Yingling notes that we can still prepare to win the challenges of the Long War, a war that does not stop at the borders of Iraq or Afghanistan, and will likely and necessarily (and I stress this is my interpretation, not Yingling's) include actions in the Horn of Africa, Syria, Iran, and Pakistan at a minimum.

As Americans, we have the ability and resources to adapt to nearly any contingency. It falls upon us to make sure that our leadership, military and civilian, is constructed in such a way as to be able to properly engage the public in what is undoubtedly Our Children's Children's War, whether we chose to engage in it, or not.

If any bright spot exists in Yingling's blistering article, it is that his call for the kind of general officer corps that we need has at least one present-duty officer that seems to largely (if not completely) meet his proposed standards for creativeness, intelligence, and courageousness, and that general may be at the right place, with the right skills and experience, to yet help guide a successful change in direction.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:23 AM | Comments (51)

April 26, 2007

Today's Democrats: Championing Genocide

Via Newsbusters, CNN's Michael Ware and Kyra Phillips blast Democrat plans to abandon Iraq (my bold):

...[Kiran] Chetry asked the pair "would all of us, all the American troops pulling out, help the situation?"

Phillips and Ware both loudly protested: "Oh, no! No. No way!"

Phillips zeroed in on the problems a U.S. withdrawal would cause for the Iraqis: "It would be a disaster. I mean, I had a chance to sit down with the Minister of Defense, to General Petraeus, to Admiral Fallon, head of CENTCOM. I asked them all the question whether Iraqi or U.S. military — there is no way U.S. troops could pull out. It would be a disaster. They're doing too much training, they’re helping the Iraqis not only with security, but trying to get the government up and running. I mean, this is a country of 'Let's Make a Deal,' there's so much corruption still. If the U.S. military left — they have rules of engagement, they have an idea, a focus. It would be a disaster."

Ware agreed, but argued that winning the war was in America's best interest: "Well, even more than that, if you just wanted to look at it purely in terms of American national interest, if U.S. troops leave now, you're giving Iraq to Iran, a member of President Bush's 'Axis of Evil,' and al Qaeda. That's who will own it. And so, coming back now, I'm struck by the nature of the debate on Capitol Hill, how delusional it is. Whether you're for this war, or against it; whether you've supported the way it's been executed, or not; it doesn't matter. You've broke it, you've got to fix it now. You can't leave, or it's going to come and blow back on America."

The comments made by Ware and Phillips echo those of New York Times Baghdad bureau chief John Burns in an interview with Matt Lauer on Today from March 30 (bold in original):

LAUER: What do you think happens if there's a date certain set for that withdrawal? BURNS: If United States troops stay, there will be mounting casualties and costs for the American taxpayer. If they leave, I think from the perspective of watching this war for four years or more in Baghdad, there's no doubt that the conflict could get a great deal worse very quickly, and we'd see levels of suffering and of casualties amongst Iraqis that potentially could dwarf the ones we've seen to this point."

And later: "Most would agree there is a civil war, but a countervaling force exercised principally by Americans but also other coalition troops is a very significant factor that leaves the potential for a considerable worsening once you remove that countervaling force. . . Remove that countervaling force and then there will be no limit to this violence."

LAUER: What about this idea that if we leave, we leave behind a vacuum that other states in that region will rush to fill?

BURNS: Very difficult to tell what they would do, but of course this could come as a wake-up call to them, once they were convinced that American troops were going to withdraw and that they might get drawn in, perhaps they would get serious amongst themselves about drawing up some sort of compact to avoid that possibility, but that's purely in the realm of speculation. We really don't know what their intentions would be, but there's certainly a potential for regional conflict.

As I stated March 8:

It is expected that the power vacuum left by a Democrat-forced American military retreat from Iraq would be filled by foreign nations fueling a sectarian war in Iraq that would be both civil and proxy in nature. Saudi Arabia has made clear their intention to provide military and financial resources to Iraq's Sunni minority to hopefully keep their co-religionists from being "ethnically cleansed," while Iran would continue or increase its military and financial support of Shia factions in hopes of gaining a sphere of influence over oil-rich southern Iraq.

The end result of the Democrat plan of defeat would be a war-torn landscape not too dissimilar to the Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian War, writ large.

A repeat of events like the Srebrenica massacre are possible in Iraq's future if Democrats have their way.

Democrats, of course, know this, but simply seem to find political games in America far more important than the regional destabilization and projected increase in civilian deaths their plan for defeat would bring.

...

Sadly, the millions of Iraqi civilians that would suffer as a result of their plan for defeat don't matter nearly as much to Democrat politicians.

Iraqi children won't send out important action alerts over frappacinos, or fund presidential campaigns in either America. It isn't their grandchildren that will suffer and die if we leave before the job is done.

The Democrats won't mention the cost of pandering to their radical base.

Apparently the one thing too shameful to discuss is the legacy they would leave behind.

I was brought up believing that the United States was a champion for liberty and freedom around the world.

Today's Democrats obviously disagree, and instead, advocate a disasterous failed state, potential regional war, and possible genocide.

At least one former Democrat understands how wrong that is.

To me, there is only one choice that protects America's security -- and that is to stand, and fight, and win.
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:05 AM | Comments (97)

April 24, 2007

White Flag Harry Reid: We're Losing This War, and the Troops are Liars

"Senator Lost" Harry Reid, has unilaterally declared that the Iraq War is lost. Uh, Senator... how would you know and other top Democrats know, when you continue to skip briefings?

What's curious is that congressional Democrats don't seem much interested in what's actually happening in Iraq. The commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, returns to Washington this week, but last week Pelosi's office said "scheduling conflicts" prevented him from briefing House members. Two days later, the members-only meeting was scheduled, but the episode brings to mind the fact that Pelosi and other top House Democrats skipped a Pentagon videoconference with Petraeus on March 8.

Reid even labeled General David Petraeus a liar:

BASH: You talked several times about General Petraeus. You know that he is here in town. He was at the White House today, sitting with the president in the Oval Office and the president said that he wants to make it clear that Washington should not be telling him, General Petraeus, a commander on the ground in Iraq, what to do, particularly, the president was talking about Democrats in Congress.

He also said that General Petraeus is going to come to the Hill and make it clear to you that there is progress going on in Iraq, that the so-called surge is working. Will you believe him when he says that?

REID: No, I don't believe him, because it's not happening. All you have to do is look at the facts.

Look at the facts, Harry? You refuse to address the facts.

Here are a few comments for "Senator Lost" from men on the ground.

From a letter to Op-for:

We are winning over here in Al Anbar province. I don't know about Baghdad, but Ramadi was considered THE hotspot in Al Anbar, the worse province, and it has been very quiet. The city is calm, the kids are playing in the streets, the local shops are open, the power is on at night, and daily commerce is the norm rather than the exception. There have been no complex attacks since March. That is HUGE progress. This quiet time is allowing the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police to establish themselves in the eyes of the people. The Iraqi people also want IA's and IP's in their areas. The Sunni Sheiks are behind us and giving us full support. This means that almost all Sunnis in Al Anbar are now committed to supporting the US and Iraqi forces. It also means that almost all insurgents left out here are AQ. FYI, the surge is just beginning. Gen Petraeus' strategy is just getting started and we're seeing huge gains here.

However, you don't see Harry Reid talking about this. When I saw what he said, it really pissed me off. That guy does not know what is going on over here because he hasn't bothered to come and find out. The truth on the ground in Al Anbar is not politically convenient for him, so he completely ignored it.

I suppose Reid considers this soldier a liar as well.

What does he think about Sgt. Turkovich, from his own state of Nevada?

"We're not losing this war."

That's how a Las Vegas Army Reserve sergeant and Iraq war veteran who is heading out again for Operation Iraqi Freedom reacted Friday to Nevada Sen. Harry Reid's assessment that the war in Iraq is "lost."

"I don't believe the war is lost," Sgt. George Turkovich, 24, said as he stood with other soldiers near a shipping container that had been packed for their deployment to Kuwait.

The soldiers leave today for a six-week training stint at Camp Atterbury, Ind., before heading overseas to run a camp in support of the war effort. It is uncertain if their yearlong tour will take them to Iraq.

"Unfortunately, politics has taken a huge role in this war affecting our rules of engagement," said Turkovich, a 2001 Palo Verde High School graduate. "This is a guerrilla war that we're fighting, and they're going to tie our hands.

"So it does make it a lot harder for us to fight the enemy, but we're not losing this war," he said.

Turkovich's commander, Lt. Col. Steven Cox:

"I find it exceedingly difficult to believe that the American people would leave their military dangling in the wind the way the good senator is doing," Cox said.

"Defeatism ... from our elected officials does not serve us well in the field," he said. "They embolden the enemy, and they actually leave them with the feeling that they can defeat us and win this.

"All they have to do is wait us out because the American resolve is waning," he said.

Cox said he's "not sure the senator accurately echoes the people he represents. ... I believe his tactics are more of shock in trying to sway public opinion. He may have spoken out of turn."

Obviously, these brave soldiers are liars, right Senator Reid?

But we're not done just yet.

Marine Corporal Tyler Rock, currently in Ramadi, was a bit more direct in his criticism:

yeah and i got a qoute for that douche harry reid. these families need us here. obviously he has never been in iraq. or at least the area worth seeing. the parts where insurgency is rampant and the buildings are blown to pieces. we need to stay here and help rebuild. if iraq didnt want us here then why do we have IP's voluntering everyday to rebuild their cities. and working directly with us too. same with the IA's. it sucks that iraqi's have more patriotism for a country that has turned to complete shit more than the people in america who drink starbucks everyday. we could leave this place and say we are sorry to the terrorists. and then we could wait for 3,000 more american civilians to die before we say "hey thats not nice" again. and the sad thing is after we WIN this war. people like him will say he was there for us the whole time.

1st Lt, Matthew McGirr, another Ramadi Marine, agrees and offers a blistering response of his own:

We are reaching a tipping point in this fight. We have finally learned this culture. We have finally begun to commit the necessary forces. We have truly learned to fight a counter-insurgency. Very real gains are being made despite claims from our Congress that we have already lost. A counter-insurgency battle is not one of quickly attained and easily recognizeable benchmarks. It is not won in a year or four. It takes time, resolve, and a willingness to use what we have learned from past mistakes and expectations. From firsthand experience I can tell you, this "Surge" is working. We need to continue to support these people and give them a fighting chance at creating a nation on their own terms.

To echo the sentiments of my fellow Marine in 1/6, the reality of what is happening on the ground in places like Ramadi is not being reported to the American public. The pundits and politicians on both sides do not fully grasp the conditions on the ground here. They are arrogantly and irresponsibly using this war and the troops who fight in it for political gain and election currency. They manipulate the truth or do not care enough to seek it out. At least I know where I stand with the citizens of Ar Ramadi.

"At least I know where I stand with the citizens of Ar Ramadi."

Ouch. Do Democrat leaders support the troops?

The troops sure don't seem to think so, and they're more than likely right.

Update: Blackfive has an excellent post on how counter-insurgency works called COIN: The Gravity Well. It's a must-read.

Allah now has the Reid video up at HotAir, which turns one today.

Update: JD Johannes reports that indeed, "the war may be over and we just don't realize it" in parts of al Anbar.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:06 PM | Comments (33)

April 20, 2007

An Axis of Embarrassment: Saddam's WMD Bunkers Found?

Via Lucianne, just another crazed conspiracy theorist:

Mr Gaubatz verbally told the Iraq Study Group (ISG) of his findings, and asked them to come with heavy equipment to breach the concrete of the bunkers and uncover their sealed contents. But to his consternation, the ISG told him they didn’t have the manpower or equipment to do it and that it would be 'unsafe' to try.

'The problem was that the ISG were concentrating their efforts in looking for WMD in northern Iraq and this was in the south,' says Mr Gaubatz. 'They were just swept up by reports of WMD in so many different locations. But we told them that if they didn't excavate these sites, others would.'

That, he says, is precisely what happened. He subsequently learnt from Iraqi, CIA and British intelligence that the WMD buried in the four sites were excavated by Iraqis and Syrians, with help from the Russians, and moved to Syria. The location in Syria of this material, he says, is also known to these intelligence agencies. The worst-case scenario has now come about. Saddam’s nuclear, biological and chemical material is in the hands of a rogue terrorist state — and one with close links to Iran.

When Mr Gaubatz returned to the US, he tried to bring all this to light. Two congressmen, Peter Hoekstra, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Curt Weldon, were keen to follow up his account. To his horror, however, when they tried to access his classified intelligence reports, they were told that all 60 of them — which, in the routine way, he had sent in 2003 to the computer clearing-house at a US airbase in Saudi Arabia — had mysteriously gone missing. These written reports had never even been seen by the ISG.

One theory is that they were inadvertently destroyed when the computer's database was accidentally erased in the subsequent US evacuation of the airbase. Mr Gaubatz, however, suspects dirty work at the crossroads. It is unlikely, he says, that no copies were made of his intelligence. And he says that all attempts by Messrs Hoekstra and Weldon to extract information from the Defence Department and CIA have been relentlessly stonewalled.

In 2005, the CIA held a belated inquiry into the disappearance of this intelligence. Only then did its agents visit the sites — to report that they had indeed been looted.

Hoekstra, the CIA, and now this nut Gaubatz... who is he, anyway?

The problem the US authorities have is that they can't dismiss Mr Gaubatz as a rogue agent — because they have repeatedly decorated him for his work in the field. In 2003, he received awards for his 'courage and resolve in saving lives and being critical for information flow'. In 2001, he was decorated for being the 'lead agent in a classified investigation, arguably the most sensitive counter-intelligence investigation currently in the entire Department of Defence' and because his 'reports were such high quality, many were published in the Air Force's daily threat product for senior USAF leaders or re-transmitted at the national level to all security agencies in US government'.

What a loon. No credibility at all.

And he poses an interesting delimma, if correct:

The Republicans won't touch this because it would reveal the incompetence of the Bush administration in failing to neutralise the danger of Iraqi WMD. The Democrats won't touch it because it would show President Bush was right to invade Iraq in the first place. It is an axis of embarrassment.

Quite true.

Should this Gaubatz guy, ISG and DIA supervisor Ray Robinson and other decorated "nutters" be correct, then Dubya is shown to be even more incompetent than both Democrats and Republicans have ever dared fear, and yet, Democrats couldn't call him on it, because they would have to admit he was right to topple Saddam in the first place, and they might have to back up that fact by confronting Syria... probably with "important action alerts."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:54 PM | Comments (61)

April 17, 2007

Iranian Weapons Intercepted On the Way To the Taliban

Well, it looks like the mullacracy is willing to supply just about any insurgency, doesn't it?

U.S. forces recently intercepted Iranian-made weapons intended for Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, the Pentagon's top general said Tuesday, suggesting wider Iranian war involvement in the region.

It appeared to be the first publicly disclosed instance of Iranian arms entering Afghanistan, although it was not immediately clear whether the weapons came directly from Iran or were shipped through a third party.

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that unlike in Iraq, where U.S. officials say they are certain that arms are being supplied to insurgents by Iran's secretive Quds Force, the Iranian link in Afghanistan is murky.

"It is not as clear in Afghanistan which Iranian entity is responsible, but we have intercepted weapons in Afghanistan headed for the Taliban that were made in Iran," Pace told a group of reporters over breakfast.

He said the weapons, including mortars and C-4 plastic explosives, were intercepted in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan within the past month. He did not describe the quantity of intercepted materials or say whether it was the first time American forces had found Iranian-made arms in that country.

If accurate, this seems to throw cold water on claims that Iran wouldn't support Sunni groups as willingly as they would Shiite militias.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:25 PM | Comments (11)

April 13, 2007

Continuing to Cry Defeat

I must thank blog aggregator Memeorandum this morning for providing this link about the latest Charles Krauthammer column, which in turn, led to a Melanie Phillips blog entry highlighting key points of a Fouad Ajami editorial, Iraq in the Balance.

Among the subjects the Ajami essay touches upon are the long history of Sunni and Shia animosity, the failure of salvation for the Sunni insurgency, and the distrust of Iranian-backed Shia militias as Iraq enters what Ajami calls the "final, decisive phase":

There is a growing Shia unease with the Mahdi Army--and with the venality and incompetence of the Sadrists represented in the cabinet--and an increasing faith that the government and its instruments of order are the surer bet. The crackdown on the Mahdi Army that the new American commander, Gen. David Petraeus, has launched has the backing of the ruling Shia coalition. Iraqi police and army units have taken to the field against elements of the Mahdi army. In recent days, in the southern city of Diwaniyya, American and Iraqi forces have together battled the forces of Moqtada al-Sadr. To the extent that the Shia now see Iraq as their own country, their tolerance for mayhem and chaos has receded. Sadr may damn the American occupiers, but ordinary Shia men and women know that the liberty that came their way had been a gift of the Americans.

The young men of little education--earnest displaced villagers with the ways of the countryside showing through their features and dialect and shiny suits--who guarded me through Baghdad, spoke of old terrors, and of the joy and dignity of this new order. Children and nephews and younger brothers of men lost to the terror of the Baath, they are done with the old servitude. They behold the Americans keeping the peace of their troubled land with undisguised gratitude. It hasn't been always brilliant, this campaign waged in Iraq. But its mistakes can never smother its honor, and no apology for it is due the Arab autocrats who had averted their gaze from Iraq's long night of terror under the Baath.


...

One can never reconcile the beneficiaries of illegitimate, abnormal power to the end of their dominion. But this current re-alignment in Iraq carries with it a gift for the possible redemption of modern Islam among the Arabs. Hitherto Sunni Islam had taken its hegemony for granted and extremist strands within it have shown a refusal to accept "the other." Conversely, Shia history has been distorted by weakness and exclusion and by a concomitant abdication of responsibility.
A Shia-led state in Baghdad--with a strong Kurdish presence in it and a big niche for the Sunnis--can go a long way toward changing the region's terrible habits and expectations of authority and command. The Sunnis would still be hegemonic in the Arab councils of power beyond Iraq, but their monopoly would yield to the pluralism and complexity of that region.

"Watch your adjectives" is the admonition given American officers by Gen. Petraeus. In Baghdad, Americans and Iraqis alike know that this big endeavor has entered its final, decisive phase. Iraq has surprised and disappointed us before, but as they and we watch our adjectives there can be discerned the shape of a new country, a rough balance of forces commensurate with the demography of the place and with the outcome of a war that its erstwhile Sunni rulers had launched and lost. We made this history and should now make our peace with it.

Without any shred of a doubt, we are in the final, decisive phase of this war.

The "surge" of American troops into Iraq only half-begun as part of Commanding General David Petraeus' counter-insurgency doctrine will be the final major push of American forces into the Iraq theater. With the success of the surge, the stabilization of Iraq means that American forces should be able to start drawing down in victory. If the surge does not work, the American public will be able to elect a President in 2008 that will bring our troops home in defeat. Either way, the surge represents America's endgame, for better or worse.

Based upon the success of French Lt. Col. David Galula's counter-insurgency efforts in Algeria, General Petraeus literally wrote the book on American counter-insurgency, Army Field Manual FM3-24 (PDF).

The Baghdad security plan, expanding to other parts of Iraq, comes at a time when al Qaeda has lost support in its former base of al Anbar province, where Sunni tribes once loyal to al Qaeda have turned against it. Within the past months, Sunni tribesmen that have recently joined the Iraqi police and military by the hundreds and thousands have fought pitched battles that al Qaeda has invariably lost, and the Sunni supporters of al Qaeda in Iraq are continuing to fracture, as noted as recently as yesterday.

As Krauthammer states in his recent op-ed with a nod to Ajami:

Fouad Ajami, just returned from his seventh trip to Iraq, is similarly guardedly optimistic and explains the change this way: Fundamentally, the Sunnis have lost the battle of Baghdad. They initiated it with an indiscriminate terror campaign they assumed would cow the Shiites, whom they view with contempt as congenitally quiescent, lower-class former subjects. They learned otherwise after the Samarra bombing in February 2006 kindled Shiite fury -- a savage militia campaign of kidnapping, indiscriminate murder and ethnic cleansing that has made Baghdad a largely Shiite city.

Petraeus is trying now to complete the defeat of the Sunni insurgents in Baghdad -- without the barbarism of the Shiite militias, whom his forces are simultaneously pursuing and suppressing.

Meanwhile, John Wixted points out that the media-declared "civil war" in Iraq is not a civil war:

Again, these Sunni insurgent groups are unhappy (not happy) with al Qaeda for indiscriminately slaughtering Shiite civilians in Iraq. How does that fit into the "civil war" schema? Answer: it doesn't. Think about the Tal Afar bombing again, the one that you thought was just part of the cycle of violence in a escalating civil war between Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents. There is just one tiny little problem with that superficial analysis: the major Sunni insurgent groups are extremely displeased with bombings like that. That being the case, you should now be able to appreciate the fact that, contrary to the standard analysis, the Tal Afar bombing (like many similar bombings) was not carried out by Sunni insurgents in their civil war against Shiites. Instead, those bombings represent al Qaeda in action. They are, in effect, counterattacks in our war on terror, not retaliatory strikes in a civil war.

The Sunni insurgents have come to realize that al Qaeda is not helping them in their fight against American troops. Instead, al Qaeda is trying to provoke a civil war, which benefits al Qaeda alone. That is, al Qaeda is trying to get Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army to once again start executing Sunnis in Baghdad. That's why the Sunni insurgents are not happy. They have no interest in a civil war because it does not benefit them in any way. They want al Qaeda to help fight the Americans, and that's what al Qaeda was doing for a while. It's what George Bush wanted al Qaeda to do as well (at least I suspect as much). But al Qaeda came up with a fiendish alternative plan, and it has been amazingly effective up until now. Predictably, in response to al Qaeda's repeated atrocities against Shiite civilians, most Americans and all Democratic politicians think they are watching a civil war unfold in Iraq and have become demoralized as a result (just as al Qaeda knew they would -- it's always that way with the weak-willed America).

[snip]

All of this should also serve to update your thinking about Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army, which, contrary to what you might believe, was killing Sunnis in Baghdad in an effort to stop those atrocities being carried out by al Qaeda against Shiite civilians. But now the Mahdi Army is cooperating with the troop surge, so those executions have come way down. Perhaps Muqtada realized that he was just playing into al Qaeda's hands (and the truth is, he was).

Unfortunately, last month, al Qaeda successfully slaughtered many hundreds of Shiites, and that increase in violence offset the decrease in violence by the Mahdi Army, so overall civilian casualties in Iraq remained essentially unchanged. However, the fact that the Sunni insurgency is beginning to resist al Qaeda, and the fact that they have even implored Osama bin Laden to call off attacks against civilians by al Qaeda in Iraq could be highly significant. If the Mahdi Army continues to cooperate (and all signs suggest that they will despite the Tal Afar bombing) and if al Qaeda can be induced to stop slaughtering civilians, then the troop surge will be seen as a resounding success because civilian casualties will come way down.

In short, Sunni tribes former aligned with al Qaeda are turning against them and joining the Iraqi military and police forces by the thousands. At the same time, Shia militias are staying their hands (for the most part), while the more militant offshoots of the Madhi Army are being either rounded up or shot down as are their Sunni opposites.

All in all, there is a picture beginning to emerge that shows the more radical and divisive elements of both the Sunni and Shia sects are slowly but steadily being whittled away. Sunnis and Shias formerly loyal to al Qaeda or al Sadr quietly melt away, inform on their former allies, or actively join forces with the Coalition and Iraqi government. These extremists that now only exist to cause terror in a fractured nation tiring of war, are losing.

Aligned against these growing signs of progress, we once again encounter our ever-present enemy... Democrats:

A memo from a top House Democrat says party leaders must not yield to White House pressure on Iraq and should cast President Bush as increasingly detached from public opinion.

Bush has said he will not negotiate with Democrats on legislation that would finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through September if it sets an end date for the Iraq war. Holding only a narrow majority in Congress, Democrats do not have enough votes to override the president's veto.

In a memo to party leaders, Rep. Rahm Emanuel says that as long as Democrats continue to ratchet up the pressure on Bush, the president loses ground.

Like many Democrats, Emanuel shows that in his eyes, the real enemy in the War on Terror (a name, I'd add, Democrats are cravenly trying to change) is American President George W. Bush, not al Qaeda terrorists or Shia militiamen.

The gathering signs of progress in Iraq means that the window of opportunity to claim a "victory" for Democrats—a headlong retreat and possible genocide that could result from a too quick withdrawal before Iraq is stabilized, which they would then attempt to pin on Bush—is closing.

If signs of progress continue to cautiously crop up in Iraq, the media-determined and Democrat-supported narrative of defeat may slowly begin to fall away, which is the worst possible situation for Democrats.

Should the surge continue to prove effective and Iraqis continue towards a path towards a reconciliation and a fair division of assets among the sects, it is not hard to see that public opinion will begin to turn against the liberal Democrat leadership, who have done all that is within their power to lose the war. Nobody likes someone who cheers against the home team, especially if the home team(s) rallies to win.

Only time will tell if the "rally" in Iraq is successful, but that is a chance Democrat leaders such as Emanuel, Reid, and Pelosi aren't will to take, and why they endeavor to lose Iraq by forfeit.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:02 PM | Comments (18)

Screening Outside the Wire

The Washington State University Young Republicans screened Outside the Wire by JD Johannes, a former Marine, who joined the Marinesbecause:

... JD Johannes did not study hard or take his secondary education seriously, because he came from a rural, midwestern town, and because he had no other opportunities, Johannes was easily conned into joining the Marines by a high-pressure salesman in Dress Blues.

Just like U.S. Senator John Kerry said, JD Johannes got stuck in Iraq.

A synopsis of the screening is recounted on palousitics, including some barbed comments at Democrats who tried to upstage both the movie and the Iraq war veterans that were to address the audience and take questions after the film.

The young democrats expressed vivid interest in expressing opinions and produce questions to us, the WSU College Republicans. Dan Ryder and I articulated to the young democrats that no such exchange would take place in any shape or form. I was unequivocal in expressing that this documentary should leave you to derive your own opinions of the troops/war and that the WSU College Republicans did not feel qualified in hosting questions. After all, we did not serve in Iraq.

The young democrats "staged" a walkout upon hearing our truthful and legitimate response. This was a display upon epic proportions of the infantile demeanor of such a group that preaches the freedom of expression, ideas, opinions, etc. Their actions were pusillanimous in nature and a flat out slap in the face to the attendees, our organization, our great country and more acutely speaking, the Veterans of our brave service men and women present. They are a sickening disgrace. A classic display of uncouth trash.

The quote of the day, however, goes to one of the Iraq War veterans during a Q&A session after the screening to a question that was never asked.

One question that never came up was "can you support the troops if you don’t support the war?" After the question and answer session ended a Vet replied, "Absolutely not, how can you support someone if you don't support what he or she is doing?"

I've wondered about that same question myself, and have yet to hear what I would consider a reasonable answer.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:54 AM | Comments (9)

April 12, 2007

Meanwhile, in the Other War...

I think the casualty figures are probably inflated, but the overall impact is still worth noting:

President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said Thursday that tribesmen have killed about 300 foreign militants during a weekslong offensive near the Afghan border and acknowledged for first time that they received military support.

The fighting that began last month in South Waziristan has targeted mainly Uzbek militants with links to al-Qaida who have sheltered in the tribal region since escaping the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001.

"The people of South Waziristan now have risen against the foreigners. They have killed about 300 of them, and they got support from the Pakistan army. They asked for support," Musharraf said in a speech at a military conference in Islamabad.

This amounts to a stronger enemy force killing off a weaker enemy force, and not something that I'd necessarily say is worth celebrating. However, if enough Taliban tribesmen and al Qaeda-linked militants kill each other, it might bleed their enthusiasm to take their jihad to NATO forces in Afghanistan for the time being.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:25 PM | Comments (1)

Smoking Kills

Mike Yon reports from within a British Army assault on al Sadr-alligned Shia militia forces, a fight that saw 26-27 militiamen killed and 4,000 rounds of ammunition expended.

The British forces suffered no wounded, at least until after the battle was well over....

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:04 PM | Comments (1)

April 10, 2007

Democrat Iraq War Grandstanding Angers Veterans' Groups

Both the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion have issued statements hammering a Democrat Congress that continues to play games with Iraq War funding.

From the VFW:

"The funding package contained artificial troop withdrawal deadlines that would ultimately break the morale of our troops in the field and directly jeopardize their safety," said Lisicki, who ascends to national commander in August and was here today to host a meeting of future leaders from the VFW’s 54 departments.

"I am calling on all the members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives to, for now, reserve further debate and provide the funds needed by our troops to prosecute the Global War on Terror," he said, noting that Iraq was clearly the centerpiece of that war on terrorism, and that the House and the Senate funding packages were also loaded with extraneous spending not related to the war on terrorism.

"This isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue. It's about American men and women tasked with fighting a war, and who are now being told their effort and sacrifice doesn't matter because a date on the calendar will send them home whether they've finished the job or not," he said.

Lisicki, Vietnam veteran from Carteret, N.J., said that when Congress reconvenes, they need to approve funding for war-related requirements only, and debate the other issues in separate legislation.

"We ask Congress to never cut or withhold funding for troops deployed or being deployed to a war zone," he said. "They must ensure that those who are sent to war have the best equipment and our strongest support. Give them the tools necessary to complete the mission you sent them on, and do it without further delay."

From the American Legion:

"This is an attempt to implement a congressional strategy by imposing timelines for the withdrawal of military personnel from combat zones through a "slow bleed" process by eventually reducing military funding," Morin said. "Rather than the President's and General Petraeus's reinforcement policy that is making progress in securing Baghdad."

The American Legion is supportive of many of the other provisions contained in the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health, and Iraq Accountability Act, but we strongly believe the President's initial request is not the vehicle for these provisions, especially the specific language that sets congressional deadlines and mandatory troops movements. The other emergency funding recommendations to the FY 2007 budget should be openly addressed in a subsequent appropriations package in a timely manner.

"The men and women of the armed forces in the theater of operation are dependent on this emergency funding to sustain and achieve their military missions," Morin explained. "Members of Congress should not be armchair generals."

"Recognizing our history as a Nation, The American Legion supports the Commander in Chief, the commanders on the front lines, and the men and women serving in harms' way," Morin said. "We entrust Congress to do the right thing in supporting our military men and women who are fighting to protect our values and way of life.

Thank God there was no mandated timetable after the Battle of the Bulge or Iwo Jima. Thank God, there was no mandated withdrawal or imposed exit strategy at Valley Forge or our Country would have lost the American Revolution."

In addition to these veterans groups, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael G. Mullen, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley and Marine Commandant Gen. James T. Conway have also issued a letter imploring the Democrat Congress to quit playing games with the funding of our soldiers:

"Without approval of the supplemental funds in April, the armed services will be forced to take increasingly disruptive measures in order to sustain combat operations," the four general and flag officers wrote in their letter. "The impacts on readiness and quality of life could be profound. We will have to implement spending restrictions and reprogram billions of dollars."
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:18 AM | Comments (4)

The Stories They Don't Tell

As is typically the case for many media organizations in Iraq, CNN this morning chose a lede for their Iraq coverage focusing on the day's body count:

In two separate incidents, bombers in Iraq targeted a college district in Baghdad and a police recruiting center in Diyala province killing at least 15 people on Tuesday, local authorities told CNN.

Meanwhile, coalition forces pounded insurgent targets across Iraq on Tuesday, the military said. They launched raids in Anbar, in the west of the country, and Baghdad and continued their Operation Black Eagle push that began last week against Shiite militias in the southern city of Diwaniya.

That effort so far has killed 14 people and wounded 61 others, among them Shiite militia members, an Interior Ministry official told CNN.

This is hardly surprising. Body counts provide concrete numbers, even if those numbers don't tell the entire story of a war that they and other media outlets determined long ago was already lost. Sadly, this reliance on body counts tells only a fraction of the story of the events taking place in Iraq.

Five paragraphs into the story, we get a hint as to another part of the story of the Iraq War, one that they chose not to cover in detail.

Dressed in a black abaya -- a traditional Muslim robe, usually black in color, covering the body from head to toe -- the woman detonated her explosives belt in a crowd of about 200 police recruits, police and hospital officials told the Associated Press.

The police recruiting center targeted by this suicide bomber in Muqdadiya is located in the Diyala province, where insurgents have fled from security operations in Baghdad.

Iraqi police typically suffer far greater casualties than either Iraqi or American military units, and yet two hundred Iraqis were lined up to join.

Joining the Iraqi police is the most dangerous occupation in Iraq, with the IP suffering greater casualties day in and day out than either the American or Iraqi militaries. Iraqis who join the police not only take immense personal risks; their families are often targeted for retaliation by terrorists as well. It is far safer to remain civilian and avoid these risks... and yet they join, not just in Diyala, but in Ramadi, Karbala, Baghdad, and Fallujah.

Why do they join?

The answers will certainly vary from recruit to recruit, from province to province and from city to village, but the fact remains that they continue to join the most dangerous job in Iraq in large numbers.

It would be nice for CNN, the Associated Press, and other news outlets to spend some time asking these recruits why they take such risks not only with their own lives, but with the lives of their families.

Are they militiamen looking to infiltrate the police? Are they simply tired of the random violence that threatens their families and hoping to stop it? Are they merely looking for work, any work, no matter how dangerous that work may be? Do they actually think that joining the police might help bring stability to their war-torn cities and towns?

We do not know.

It is far easier for the media to ask the simple questions of who died where, and provide copy about orchestrated protests, or produce photos of suffering and death. "If it bleeds, it leads," has been, and continues to be, the mantra of a news media interested in covering only the obvious and superficial sotires of the day.

The deeper, inner struggles, the jihad of ordinary Iraqis who purposefully take extraordinary risks, goes unremarked upon... and still they come by tens and hundreds, from across Iraq. They join the police and don uniforms, knowing that doing so makes them certain targets.

I'd like to know why, but no one seems interested in telling their stories.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:48 AM | Comments (1)

April 07, 2007

What's Next, Reid and bin Laden?

From the murderous dictators of terrorist-sponsoring regimes to Islamist leaders themselves:

A top U.S. Democratic congressman met a leader of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's most powerful rival, the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, U.S. officials and the Islamist group said Saturday.

Visiting House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer met with the head of the Muslim Brotherhood's parliamentary bloc, Mohammed Saad el-Katatni, twice on Thursday -- once at the parliament building and then at the home of the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, said Brotherhood spokesman Hamdi Hassan.

Most of you are probably not that familiar with el-Katatni, who believes in restoring the caliphate and instituting fundementalist sharia law, but you are certainly more familiar with another Muslim Brotherhood alumnus named Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's cavemate.

Nice folks the Democrat leadership is spending time with these days.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:52 PM | Comments (2)

April 06, 2007

Speaker of the Big House

Logan Act, anyone?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may well have committed a felony in traveling to Damascus this week, against the wishes of the president, to communicate on foreign-policy issues with Syrian President Bashar Assad. The administration isn't going to want to touch this political hot potato, nor should it become a partisan issue. Maybe special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, whose aggressive prosecution of Lewis Libby establishes his independence from White House influence, should be called back.

The Logan Act makes it a felony and provides for a prison sentence of up to three years for any American, "without authority of the United States," to communicate with a foreign government in an effort to influence that government's behavior on any "disputes or controversies with the United States." Some background on this statute helps to understand why Ms. Pelosi may be in serious trouble.

President John Adams requested the statute after a Pennsylvania pacifist named George Logan traveled to France in 1798 to assure the French government that the American people favored peace in the undeclared "Quasi War" being fought on the high seas between the two countries. In proposing the law, Rep. Roger Griswold of Connecticut explained that the object was, as recorded in the Annals of Congress, "to punish a crime which goes to the destruction of the executive power of the government. He meant that description of crime which arises from an interference of individual citizens in the negotiations of our executive with foreign governments."

The debate on this bill ran nearly 150 pages in the Annals. On Jan. 16, 1799, Rep. Isaac Parker of Massachusetts explained, "the people of the United States have given to the executive department the power to negotiate with foreign governments, and to carry on all foreign relations, and that it is therefore an usurpation of that power for an individual to undertake to correspond with any foreign power on any dispute between the two governments, or for any state government, or any other department of the general government, to do it."

Nominating Patrick Fitzgerald to pursue this investigation is not, of course, within the WSJ's power, but it is an excellent suggestion all the same.

The author Robert F. Turner notes that it is quite possible that Pelosi's actions violate not just federal law (and a felony at that), but may have violated her oath of office as well.

Interestingly enough, President Bush tried to keep Pelosi from making this mistake. It's a shame she didn't have enough sense to listen.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:16 PM | Comments (30)

New DOD Report Indicates No Ties Between Saddam and al Qaeda; New e-Book Indicates Just the Opposite

I QUESTION THE TIMING!

The Washington Post has an article posted this morning by R. Jeffery Smith that seems to put to rest allegations that Saddam Hussein's government was directly in contact with al Qaeda before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Interestingly, the release of this report came on the same day that Vice President Dick Cheney repeated allegations of cooperation:

The report's release came on the same day that Vice President Cheney, appearing on Rush Limbaugh's radio program, repeated his allegation that al-Qaeda was operating inside Iraq "before we ever launched" the war, under the direction of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist killed last June.

"This is al-Qaeda operating in Iraq," Cheney told Limbaugh's listeners about Zarqawi, whom he said had "led the charge for Iraq." Cheney cited the alleged history to illustrate his argument that withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq would "play right into the hands of al-Qaeda."

Folks, unless the Veep has information I don't (which is quite possible), he is possibly conflating two things here.

There is no doubt whatsoever that Zarqawi was a terrorist operating in Iraq by late 2001, and that he was well established prior to the 2003 invasion. There is also no doubt at all that he shared the same radical Sunni Islamist philosophy as al Qaeda. What does not seem to be supported by the report is Zarqawi's direct contact with al Qaeda prior to the 2003 invasion.

But one thing the report does apparently reinforce is that Saddam Hussein did have ties to other terror groups, which Smith glosses over (my bold):

Instead, the report said, the CIA had concluded in June 2002 that there were few substantiated contacts between al-Qaeda operatives and Iraqi officials and had said that it lacked evidence of a long-term relationship like the ones Iraq had forged with other terrorist groups.

But is the DOD report accurate?

As we well know, millions of documents were captured after the fall of the Iraqi government, and the overwhelming majority of those documents have yet to be translated, thanks to the rise of the insurgency in Iraq. U.S. intelligence assets have always been extremely thin in regards to Arab translators, and those translators we do have are being used--and rightfully so--in active intelligence operations, not the historical review of documents from a regime that no longer exists. It is simply a matter of priorities.

But while U.S. military assets are correctly focused on current intelligence exploitation, a former member of the Iraq Study Group and his co-authors has gone though the documentation released by DOD, and has come to a vastly different series of conclusions, published in a new e-book, Both In One Trench: Saddam's Support to the Global Jihad Movement and International Terrorism.

I have a review copy of the book and I'm just starting on it, but if Robinson, Dunaway and al-Hadir are correct, then there may be reason to doubt the accuracy of the DOD report, not because DOD is being deceptive in any way, but simply because they are working from limited data that results from their assets being needed elsewhere.

Some of the bombshell conclusions published in the book are stunning:

The Saddam regime supported Islamic terrorists the same as it supported other ‘secular’ terrorists. The key to understanding this issue is the logical distinction between working with Islamic extremists to achieve mutual objectives outside of Iraq versus having them exist uncontrolled inside Iraq. Saddam’s regime was “open for business” to leaders from al-Qaeda, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Taliban, Hamas, Afghani warlords and other Islamic extremist organizations.

2. Documents provide strong evidence that Saddam was the instigator and ultimate mastermind behind the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993. They also provide evidence to suspect that Saddam was complicit in the Millennium Plot as executed by al Qaeda against the United States. Furthermore, documents reveal what may be foreknowledge by Saddam of the American anthrax attack that occurred within days of 9/11.

3. Saddam was in material breach of UN resolutions. The authorization from Congress for the use of force in Iraq was based largely on the failure of the Saddam regime to comply with its obligations under agreement to the UN. This fact is salient; the Saddam regime was in a state of noncompliance. WMD, while a significant part of the argument before the war, was never the sole justification despite cynical attempts by historical revisionists to portray it as the only justification provided by the Bush Administration.

4. Saddam corrupted mightily. He used pacifists, leftists, and even environmentalists to spread his propaganda. His intelligence agencies claimed to have sources all over the world in sensitive organizations, including the UN and the American media.

5. There are indications of activities in Iraq that we cannot make full determination on at this time, but which raise interesting questions. While we cannot make conclusions, we will pass the relevant information to the reader who may draw his or her own conclusions. For instance, a report by a respected journalist about a claim of an Iraqi underground nuclear test that happened in the late 1980’s appears to have sparked concern within the Saddam regime. The internal memorandum shows active steps to conceal evidence related to the story.

6. For the sake of history we make the startling revelation that during President Bush’s 2006 State of the Union Address, a spy for Saddam Hussein sat with the First Lady, Laura Bush. It should be noted that it was practically impossible to know this, and at the time the man was a leader of the Afghan reform movement that supported the overthrow of the Taliban.

Does the evidence support the allegations made by the authors? If so, does the documentation captured in Iraq provide the documentary evidence to justify the Iraq War?

At 200+ pages, this book promises to be an interesting read. If the conclusions made are supported, it may just be the most important book released since the beginning of the War On Terror.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:10 PM | Comments (17)

April 04, 2007

SecDef Gates Confronts Reid Surrender Plan

Democrat Harry Reid has already stated his opinion that the Iraqi War is "is not worth another drop of American blood," making me wonder just how much Iraqi blood may spill from Iraqi if his plan for defeat is implemented.

According to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, quite a lot:

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday warned that limiting troops' activities in Iraq and withdrawing from Baghdad could lead to "ethnic cleansing" in the capital and elsewhere in the country.

Gates' comment followed a proposal from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to end most spending on the Iraq war in 2008, limiting it to targeted operations against al Qaeda, training for Iraqi troops and U.S. force protection.

"One real possibility is if we abandon some of these areas and withdraw into the countryside or whatever to do these targeted missions that you could have a fairly significant ethnic cleansing inside Baghdad and in Iraq more broadly," Gates said.

"What we do know is if Baghdad is in flames and the whole city is engulfed in violence, the prospects for a political solution are almost nonexistent," he said on the Laura Ingraham syndicated radio program.

Gates is saying that the Democrat plan will most likely lead to genocide, a conclusion others have reached as well.

The preferred Democrat solution of a mindless retreat all but promises an escalation according to New York Times Baghdad bureau chief John Burns, that could result in "levels of suffering and of casualties amongst Iraqis that potentially could dwarf the ones we've seen to this point."

For all their rhetoric, those who claim to be anti-war certainly seem driven to create violence and bloodshed virtually without limits.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:38 PM | Comments (14)

War Song

While the rest of the world seems focused on Iranian promises to free 15 British sailors kidnapped 1.5 miles inside Iraqi waters, former pro-Taliban tribesmen are pushing forward with what they say is a final offensive to crush foreign al Qaeda fighters in Pakistan's South Waziristan tribal region.

The fighting against entrenched Uzbek, Chechen and Arab positions is intense:

Tribesmen stormed a bunker manned by foreign militants early on Wednesday and killed 11 Uzbeks and captured another 14, residents said, citing the tribal forces.

"Soon after morning prayers there was a heavy sound of war drums and tribesmen were seen leaving in different directions amid shouts of 'Allahu Akhbar' (God is Greatest) and 'Victory, victory, victory'," Malik Sangeen Khan, a resident of the region's main town of Wana, said.

"Since this morning there have been massive sounds of rockets and gunfire. It is louder even than the Pakistani military operations here in 2004."

It seems rather pathetic that the Musharraf government is claiming these battles vindicate his 2006 peace accord, a deal which effectively ceded Waziristan to Taliban and al Qaeda forces after Pakistan's Army suffered heavy losses in the area in 2004-2006.

I don't think anyone could have easily predicted this red-on-red conflict between former allies, but as long as Taliban and al Qaeda loyalists continue to kill each other instead of staging incursions into Afghanistan, very few people outside of Waziristan are likely to complain.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:59 PM | Comments (1)

A Thousand Words of Subservience

MIDEAST SYRIA US PELOSI

As noted by blogger Paul Geary at The New Editor last night (h/t Instapundit), Nancy Pelosi is raising hackles for deciding to cover her head while visiting (against the President's advice) the capital city of Damascus, Syria, to meet with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

Up to 90% of the foreign suicide bombers in Iraq filter through Syria. Assad himself threatened former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri just months before Hariri was assassinated, and Syria's government—perhaps Assad himself—is suspected of having a hand in the murder.

Bush was correct in noting that Pelosi's trip only encourages a well-known state sponsor of terror. Republicans Joe Pitts (PA), Frank Wolf (VA) and Robert Aderholt (AL) also held meetings this past week with Assad that should be condemned, as have Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Bill Nelson (D-FL) Chris Dodd (D-CT), and Arlen Specter (R-PA) over the past few months.

All of these Congressmen and Senators should be rebuked for their actions, which lend credibility to a murderous regime, and I do mean all of them, Democrat and Republican. They do not represent, nor can they negotiate, the foreign policy of the United States.

But Pelosi, just a pretzel and a Big Mac away from the Presidency, and the highest ranking member of Congress as Speaker of the House, deserves special scrutiny for her actions.

While all of these trips were inadvisable, Pelosi's position lends credibility to a state that sponsors several major terrorist groups, terrorists that have killed hundreds of American servicemen, and who have killed hundreds of our allies. Pelosi's defiant trip is a thumb to the eye of U.S. foreign policy, one that sets a horrible precedent.

I am unaware of any Speaker of the House in this nation's history that has visited an antagonistic power while our military was engaged in combat. It is the equivalent of Speaker Sam Rayburn visiting China in the late summer of 1950 during the Korean War.

Make no mistake: Pelosi's trip undercuts our servicemen that are currently fighting against terrorists in Iraq that come through Syria with a wink and a nod. This trip is a propaganda coup that will be used by Syria, the terrorists they sponsor, and Islamists worldwide.

Notes Geary:

This picture disgusts me. What message is Nancy Pelosi trying to send? Are women equal to men, or not? Why is modesty foisted only upon women? That's the inconvenient truth for conservative Muslims, and for liberal Americans trying desperately (and unsuccessfully) to reconcile the desire for understanding between cultures, and those cultures' starkly illiberal practices.

While her term as Speaker is only months old, the image above may very well become the defining visual image associated with Pelosi’s Speakership: the most powerful woman in American politics donning a scarf in deference to Islamic practice, knowing full well the symbolism that act carried.

Pelosi donned the head covering while visiting the Ommayad Mosque in Damascus, a move that will be correctly interpreted by Muslims around the world as a nod to the subservience of women as noted in the Koran, in Surah an-Nur ayah 31:

'Wa qul li al-mu'minat yaghdudna min absarihinna wa yahfathna furujahunna wa laa yubdina zenatahunna illa maa thahara min haa wal-yadribna bi khumurihinna ala juyubihinna; wa laa yubdina zenatahunna illa li bu'ulatihinna aw aba'ihinna aw aba'i bu'ulatihinna aw abna'ihinna aw abna'i bu'ulatihinna aw ikhwanihinna aw bani ikhwanihinna aw bani akhawatihinna aw nisa'ihinna aw maa malakat aymanuhunna aw at-tabi'ina ghayri ulu'l-irbat min ar-rijal aw at-tifl allathina lam yathharu ala awrat an-nisa wa laa yadribna bi arjulihinna li yu'lama maa yukhfina min zenatahinna. Wa tubu ilaAllahi jami'an, ayyuha al-mu'minun la'allakum tuflihun'

And say to the faithful women to lower their gazes, and to guard their private parts, and not to display their beauty except what is apparent of it, and to extend their headcoverings (khimars) to cover their bosoms (jaybs), and not to display their beauty except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband's fathers, or their sons, or their husband's sons, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their womenfolk, or what their right hands rule (slaves), or the followers from the men who do not feel sexual desire, or the small children to whom the nakedness of women is not apparent, and not to strike their feet (on the ground) so as to make known what they hide of their adornments. And turn in repentance to Allah together, O you the faithful, in order that you are successful.

Her scarf will be interpreted as a hijab or khimar, which indeed its purpose in her visit to Ommayad. The symbolism of the photo was easy to predict in advance, and easily avoidable by simply changing her itinerary. Instead, Nancy Peolosi disgraced herself, her position, the Congress and the United States, and certainly not least of all, women who seek equality around the world.

Get used to seeing this image. It will dog Pelosi until the end of her days in office.


Update: Even more pathetic than I thought. Pelosi couldn't even deliver a simple message correctly.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:31 AM | Comments (17)

April 03, 2007

No Global War on Terror Here

An Iraqi Sunni insurgent group calling itself the "Arrows of Righteousness" holding two German hostages has given the German government 10 more days to withdrawn their soldiers from Afghanistan.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:36 PM | Comments (1)

Lesson Unlearned

"This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."

--Winston Churchill, Harrow School, 29 October 1941

Oh, how the mighty have fallen:

British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned Iran on Tuesday that his government would have to take increasingly tough decisions if 15 captive sailors are not quickly released.

Iran captured 15 of Britain's sailors and marines and then paraded them in front of cameras repeatedly for propaganda purposes in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions on treatment of prisoners, and all Blair can muster are more empty, spineless rhetoric.

John Derbyshire takes the deliberately provacative stance that:

I certainly think that those British captives who have let themselves be put forward on Iranian TV, that woman wearing a headscarf, and the young man apologizing to the Iranian gangster-rulers, should be court-martialed for dereliction of duty when they get back to Blighty, with shooting definitely an option.

If Derbyshire is to shoot all those who were derelict in their duties, he should be sure to bring along enough ammunition to dispatch a substantial portion of the chain of command of the British Navy and the Blair government itself. All were, and continue to be, abject failures in dealing with a crisis that they allowed to occur.

The simple fact of the matter is that Iran was the aggressor, and the British Navy, acting under orders from Blair's government, were the enablers. Iran is clearly to blame for the kidnapping, but Blair's government allowed the kidnapping to take place when it had the means and the ability to blow the Iranian pirate fleet out of the water, if it only had the fortitude and sense of self preservation to do so.

I don't agree with Blair's spinelessness, any more than I agree with his fellow countryman Patrick Cockburn taking the coward's way out, blaming the United States for the kidnapping (a story that is a mish-mash of old information and unsupported conjecture).

This isn't the first Iranian attempt to capture western Coalition soldiers to use as bargaining chips. Cockburn's uninformed speculation that the British soldiers were kidnapped in response to U.S. forces capturing Iranian operatives in Iraq is flatly, factually wrong; Iranian forces ventured into Iraq in an attempt to capture U.S forces back in September, well in advance of the Iranian operatives' arrest that Cockburn says is the trigger for the kidnapping. What is criminal is that the British Navy were aware of the attempt in September, and another attempt to kidnap American soldiers during a raid on Karbala that saw five U.S soldiers killed, and did not take any obvious steps to protect their soldiers, sailors and marines before the attack, did nothing during the attack, and has done nothing since except utter empty rhetoric.

No, the United States is not remotely responsible for the capture of these 15 Britons. Iran is responsible for the brazen attempt, invading 1.5 miles into Iraqi waters to attempt the kidnapping, and the British are responsible for letting a much weaker foe steal their personnel without even attempting to defend them.

Cockburn wishes to blame others for his countrymen's kidnapping. Perhaps he should focus less on assigning blame to others, and recognize that the problem plaguing Britain is the inaction, lack of a sense of self preservation, and lack of honor of the British people themselves.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:51 AM | Comments (6)

April 02, 2007

Ninety Percent of Success is Just Showing Up

So perhaps the braintrusts of certain liberal blogs might want to get all of their facts straight before pitching a hissyfit over the fact General Petraeus ended up giving a Republican-only briefing last month.

It turns out that invitations to the videoconference were extended to both Democrats and Republicans, but no Democrats showed up.

Perhaps they were out of spit.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:26 PM | Comments (5)

Feingold/Reid: Retreat Now, and We Can Still Lose This

Russ Feingold and Harry Reid say that the war in Iraqi isn't being lost fast enough, and will sponsor a retreat bill in the Senate that would largely defund the war and require a pullout to begin 120 days after the bill became law.

Meanwhile, on the ground in al Anbar, soldier/blogger "Teflon Don" speculates that the insurgency may be reaching a tipping point.

I'll try to keep writing about the winds here in Al-Anbar. I'll go out on a little bit of a limb and say that the insurgency is quickly approaching a tipping point. If things continue as they are right now, our military won't need a surge to chase the terrorists out of Anbar- the citizens will do it for us, which is as it should be. It's beginning to show already: more local tips, more police recruits (far more than anticipated), and sadly- in bigger and more desperate Al-Qaeda attacks.

He concludes this thought-provoking post by stating:

It's a big job, but I think we may have finally learned enough forgotten lessons from places like East Timor, Vietnam, Ireland, Malaysia, and others that it just might work this time.

Color me hopeful.

It might not come as much of a surprise to discover that others on the ground in Iraq are also seeing these same hopeful signs, which is perhaps why Reid and Feingold are so desperately trying to push to lose the war now before signs of a positive change become more widely known.

Perhaps Harry and Russ should do a little reading.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:04 PM | Comments (7)

How the Democrats Can Win In Iraq

It was all for show:

If President Bush vetoes an Iraq war spending bill as promised, Congress quickly will provide the money without the withdrawal timeline the White House objects to because no lawmaker "wants to play chicken with our troops," Sen. Barack Obama said Sunday.

"My expectation is that we will continue to try to ratchet up the pressure on the president to change course," the Democratic presidential candidate said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I don't think that we will see a majority of the Senate vote to cut off funding at this stage."

I think Obama is stretching the truth a bit when he says, "no lawmaker wants to play chicken with the troops." Playing chicken with the troops is the preferred Democrat tactic these days, and passing the recent meaningless pork-laden bills through the House and Senate when they know they could not override a veto are concrete examples of this in action.

What Obama perhaps should have said is that no Democrat wants to get caught playing chicken with the troops, as John "Okinawa" Murtha has done several times, first when he accused Marines in Haditha of "cold-blooded murder" well before the investigation had concluded, and just months ago, when he attempted to undercut deployments by the arbitrary setting of readiness standards which would mark units as unfit for combat if they did not have key equipment before deploying.

The later tactic was especially dishonest and calculating, as units typically do not carry certain heavy equipment with them—for example, tanks and IFVs—that are already in Iraq. These assets are turned over to newly arriving units by the units they replace. It is largely because of his record of "playing chicken" that we have heard relatively little from him since his last attempt to use our soldiers as pawns.

Will the Democrats overplay their hand, and go too far once more?

Top Democrats are concerned that they will:

Backed by a unified party and fresh from a slew of legislative victories, Democratic leaders appear to believe there is hardly any territory they cannot stray onto, a development that has Republican political operatives gleeful and some Democrats worried. Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, warned of a "political price" at the polls: "If they let their constituents and their ideology drive them past the point where the American people are comfortable, they will find how quickly the voters will react."

Leon E. Panetta, who was a top White House aide when President Bill Clinton pulled himself off the mat through repeated confrontations with Congress, sees the same risk. He urged Democrats to stick to their turf on such issues as immigration, health care and popular social programs, and to prove they can govern.

"That's where their strength is," Panetta said. "If they go into total confrontation mode on these other things, where they just pass bills and the president vetoes them, that's a recipe for losing seats in the next election."

Notes Ed Morrissey:

The Democrats are about to retreat on Iraq war spending, after giving Bush an opportunity for an easy veto. It's bad enough that the Democrats played a game of chicken that they couldn't possibly win the last two weeks. They compounded the error by larding the final bills up with so much pork that Bush can now easily justify the veto on the grounds of containing corruption -- and make the Democrats look as if they will only fund the troops if they can get their own snouts into the trough as well.

Citing the same article, Dan Riehl wryly notes:

According to the Washington Post, while America is struggling with two difficult wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the war on terror, the Democrats are planning to broaden the front by increasing their attacks... on Bush.

The left end of the Democrat Party tips their hand to show they are uniting against their "true enemy," George W. Bush, once more. Perhaps, though, our nation’s best chance for victory in Iraq is for more moderate and conservative Democrats to change tactics on Iraq if the current Baghdad security plan begins to bear fruit later this summer.

If the "surge" shows signs of success, Democrats can turn on a dime to attack the Administration for not employing the COIN strategy advocated by General Petraeus far earlier in the war. They can then legitimately maintain that they support the troops and Iraq, and claim they are still anti-war at the same time by advocating a strategy that proved a successful template in the Malayan Emergency and other previous conflicts, a strategy many experts feel will result in far fewer civilian casualties over the long term.

They can easily justify this stance by stating that the tactics and strategy first created by French Lt. Col David Galula in Algeria in 1956 and adopted by General Petraeus in Counterinsurgency Field Manual FM3-24
as the only real "anti-war" position for a war already engaged, one that will eventually not only win the war in Iraq, but one that will save the most Iraqi lives in the process, and one would avoid fears of both a genocide and a wider regional war that the current Democrat plan of defeat seems to promise.

Many Americans still hold the Democrats responsible for the millions of lives lost as the result of the American pullout of Vietnam after the Viet Cong were effectively destroyed as a result of the Tet Offensive. Conservative Democrats are wary of setting the stage for yet another genocide which would only further erode their reputation on national security issues, and can avoid this label if they can find a way to justify advocating the Petraeus plan. That opportunity may present itself in coming months.

Are Democrats nimble enough to make such a transition? If they are, what will have to occur to make this bit of political jujitsu possible?

First and foremost, the COIN strategy being deployed by General Petraeus must show solid progress in coming months. Galula was able to effect noticeable change in Algeria in a very limited amount of time, and so it is possible for the security operations currently starting to ramp up to start making the desired changes.

Second, the Iraqi political and security apparatus are going to have to show significant signs of progress as well. There is reason to believe this is possible.

The al Anbar "Awakening" discussed at Acute Politics and elsewhere shows that a growing number of Sunni tribes in the most volatile province of Iraq are interested in change, and in political discussion. If they can be effectively engaged politically and find a voice for their concerns through the political process, this will be a blow to insurgent recruiting and to al Qaeda terrorists, who long relied upon Sunni support. This support for al Qaeda is failing rapidly, as a growing string of Sunni tribal attacks on the terror organization—including an attack yesterday that killed 21 members of al Qaeda by Iraqi security forces and Sunni tribesmen—shows the situation on the ground is evolving against outside Sunni influence.

Concurrently, Iran’s network supporting Shia forces are being rolled up at an astonishing rate, with more than 300 operatives captured in the past two months alone. There is little doubt that many of these arrests have come from intelligence provided by Iranian Quds Force soldiers captured in Iraq, but more quietly, nationalistic Iraqi Shia are turning against Iranian influence and proving tips leading to the compromise of Iranian operatives and operations.

The collapse of the relationship between al Qaeda and their former Shia allies and the turning of Iraqi Shia against Iranian influence is a good start, but only a start. The Iraqi government is going to have to find ways of engaging Sunnis, Baathists, and the "good” JAM Shia militias, and incorporate them into the political process, which will be exceedingly difficult and will not happen quickly. Many Americans will find the negotiations distasteful, but such a reconciliation is necessary, and it always has been.

If the political and military conditions do evolve as stated—and I readily admit that that is a very big "if"—Democrats have the opportunity to shift positions to envelop the Republicans in a political pincers movement. They will be able to outflank the Republicans with a pro-victory position that points out the long-running incompetence of the Administration in handling the war to this point, while evolving their position to match conditions on the ground to support a victory that Democrats can claim political credit for.

This of course will be a hard sell to many of the more stridently anti-war/pro-defeat Democrats, but for those that are more pragmatic, it affords an opportunity to reestablish national security bona files that have been languishing since the Vietnam War.

To pull this off, Steny Hoyer and the Blue Dog Democrats will have to play a vital role in persuading Nancy Pelosi that a victory in Iraq is in the party's best interests, and with Pelosi's well-known views, this may be a very tough sell. If it could work, however, the Democrats would be in a far better position in 2008 to win even more seats in the House and Senate. Democrat candidates running for President—especially Hillary Clinton—could stand to evolve their platforms to pick up votes from conservative voters, votes that would not be on the table otherwise.

In short, if the conditions on the ground over coming months indicate that success in Iraq is possible, Democrats that can read the tea leaves and adapt to a pro-victory position stand to route a bumbling Republican Party, relegating it to the sidelines for decades to come.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:42 AM | Comments (5)

Petraeus Interview

John Noonan at OpFor has an interview with Commanding U.S. Gneral David Petraeus posted that is certainly worth a read.

In addition, I'd strongly recommend reading this Arthur Herman article article on how to win the war in Iraq, which provides the historical background of the COIN strategy currently being rolled out by General Petraeus in Iraq.

Once you've read it you'll wonder why the strategy contained within wasn't rolled out in 2004.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:01 AM | Comments (2)

March 30, 2007

A Message to the Democratic Party Leadership

From YouTube:

Cpl Chris Mason recorded a video message for the Democratic Party Leadership before he was killed in action in Iraq. Chris was killed by Al Qaeda terrorist. He produced this video on November 12th 2006 at FOB Summerall. This video just recently worked its way to me (his dad) on March 23rd 2007, now I am posting it to the internet for him. It reflects his beliefs about the war in Iraq, the people of Iraq, freedom, why he joined the US military, what he expected after joining the military, and if the warriors lost in the war will be lives wasted.

Cpl Mason was killed on November 28th, 2006 by Al-Qaeda Terrorist forces operating in Iraq.

He was laid to rest December 12th 2006, exactly thirty days after making this video statement to the Democratic Party Leadership.

From Chris Mason's memorial web site:

He was killed in "The War on Terrorism" by Al-Qaeda terrorist forces in a small town "Siniyah, Iraq." Chris was ambushed and killed by Al-Qaeda terrorist while he was moving into position to provide fire support for his fellow paratroopers. They had come under heavy small arms fire from Al-Qaeda forces and could not disengage. He died soon after being hit by an IED, but DOD has him being killed by small arms fire, during a firefight with Al-Qaeda at the same location. Bottom line is he was doing what needed to be done for his country..

The President of the United States, George W. Bush, authorized on Feb 1, 2007 that the following quote be placed on Chris's headstone.... "We Will Not Tire, We Will Not Falter, And We Will Not Fail" with the president's signature affixed there after.

There are few men who will pick up a weapon and fight for this country, and my son was one of the few. He died standing toe to toe with Al-Qaeda.

Strength and Honor son, I stand proud for you. Airborne.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:38 PM | Comments (4)

EFP Importer Captured

And the Iranian dominoes in Iraq continue to fall:

U.S. and Iraqi forces detained a suspect linked to networks bringing sophisticated roadside bombs into Iraq during a raid Friday in the main Shiite district in Baghdad.

[snip]

The suspect, who was detained by U.S. and Iraqi forces during a raid in the Shiite militia stronghold of Sadr City, was believed to be tied to networks bringing the weapons known as explosively formed projectiles, or EFPs, into Iraq, the military said.

It did not name the suspect or the groups he was accused of having ties to, but the U.S. military has asserted in recent months that Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Quds force have been providing Shiite militias with weapons and parts for sophisticated armor-piercing bombs. The EFPs are responsible for the deaths of more than 170 American and coalition soldiers since mid-2004, the military says.

The most important "nugget" to be gleaned from these three short paragraphs is that the man who was apprehended was part of a network importing explosively-formed penetrators into Iraq.

There are those on the political left here in the United States who have attempted to provide Iran with a figleaf for their involvement, implying that the EFPs used against American forces were indigenous weapons because some captured EFPs were made using some components—primarily the short sections of pipe used to form the canister containing the copper disk and explosive charge—that came from various parts of Iraq and other countries in the region. The man captured was part of a network smuggling in completed munitions, not components.

I'd also note that Judi was wrong in his the terminology he used to describe the weapons the network was smuggling in to Iraq. Sadly, this is a consistent problem among Associated Press reporters. I'll give Judi the same advice I gave his superior, Kim Gamel: Learn the Tech, or Take up Baking.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:33 PM | Comments (3)

Oh, My

I can fully appreciate the fact that our ideological opposites don't support the war in Iraq and would prefer that our military be recalled. I can even accept some of their rationalizations, even though I think they are purposefully downplaying the full-on genocide that would be the likely result of their retreat-at-any-cost mentality, of what they view as a Republican war in Iraq. To be fair, the Iraq War isn't the only thing liberals see as a "Republican war." They seem to think everything is the result of one Republican War or another, except, perhaps, their own War on Hyperbole.

Rick Moran highlights one example of the overwrought wailing and knashing of frappacino-stained teeth this morning, a post on the liberal blog Booman Tribune that is highly emotional, to put it mildly:

So here we are in the midst of an escalation oops, surge, in their futile involvement in the Fertile Delta, sending ever more of what they have been determined to be our fully expendable American youth to die amid the filthy corrupt realities of the modern, oil saturated Arab world. All the while our boy Junior adds daily to his litany of pious pronouncements on peace and freedom for a part of the world where there is little respect for peace and no respect for liberty because 13 centuries of Islamic fatalism and authoritarian rule have not allowed, and may never allow either.

As the bullets and shrapnel fly and the bodies are stacked in great rotting piles and the Mothers of Iraq and the Mothers of America weep in endless screams of pain and anguish our congress plays political games in a disgusting, half ass tug of war with President Puke that makes me want to offer Monica Lewinsky a chance to perform just one more public service so that we might at long last give the Republicans and the Democrats something to get stirred up about enough to impeach this criminal son of a bitch.

I talked briefly with a young man today who is leaving for Army boot camp in a few days. We were introduced by his friend's father who is a close friend of mine from my favorite watering hole, the local pool hall. The young man is 19, fresh of face and rosy cheeked, not an ounce of guile in his spirit and ripe for the slaughter. As we spoke I couldn't shake the feeling that I might never see the kid alive again. I wanted to cry as I shook his hand and told him to pay attention and cover his ass.

The author is said to be Bob Higgins, but the near-hysterical, semi-coherent and sobbing tone of the post sounds like it could easily have come from the dead-on lefty-spoofing troll known as CheChe.

Both the Moran and Higgen's posts were proximately triggered by a Joshua Partlow article in this morning's Washington Post titled, Gunmen Go On Rampage In Iraqi City, a follow-up story on the Tal Afar massacre two days ago that I've discussed previously.

For those of you just coming to this story, the Tal Afar massacre were the extrajudicial summary executions of 45-60 Sunni men in a Sunni neighborhood by off-duty Iraqi police and militiamen (all believed to be Shia) in retaliation for a pair of truck bombs in primarily Shia areas earlier that day that killed 63 and wounded 150.

The revenge attacks are chilling, and an undoubted setback, and yet they are perhaps unsurprising in some ways, as the Shia have been hit time and time again by insurgent forces recently, and finally hit their breaking point. There is obviously no excuse for the attacks and a joint investigation by Iraqi Interior Ministry, Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry for National Security is underway.

It is unknown if the recent tit-for-tat in Tal Afar is just the beginning of a resurgence of violent in that Iraqi citizen, or if time with prove these to be horrible isolated incidents.

One thing is for certain, however. There are not "great rotting piles" of bodies in Iraq to speak of yet (Sunni and Shia alike bury their dead within 24 hours), but if liberals such as Higgens get their way and force an arbitrary withdrawal date, "great rotting piles" of dead Iraqis are indeed in Iraq’s future, as noted yesterday by New York Times Baghdad bureau chief John Burns in an interview with Matt Lauer on Today:

LAUER: What do you think happens if there's a date certain set for that withdrawal?

BURNS: If United States troops stay, there will be mounting casualties and costs for the American taxpayer. If they leave, I think from the perspective of watching this war for four years or more in Baghdad, there's no doubt that the conflict could get a great deal worse very quickly, and we'd see levels of suffering and of casualties amongst Iraqis that potentially could dwarf the ones we've seen to this point."

And later: "Most would agree there is a civil war, but a countervaling force exercised principally by Americans but also other coalition troops is a very significant factor that leaves the potential for a considerable worsening once you remove that countervaling force. . . Remove that countervaling force and then there will be no limit to this violence."

LAUER: What about this idea that if we leave, we leave behind a vacuum that other states in that region will rush to fill?

BURNS: Very difficult to tell what they would do, but of course this could come as a wake-up call to them, once they were convinced that American troops were going to withdraw and that they might get drawn in, perhaps they would get serious amongst themselves about drawing up some sort of compact to avoid that possibility, but that's purely in the realm of speculation. We really don't know what their intentions would be, but there's certainly a potential for regional conflict.

None of these concerns seem to touch the American political left, which views this as a "Republican War," our soldiers as children "ripe for the slaughter," and notably silent about the hihg probabability that the catastrophic and arbitrary withdrawal they would arrange would lead to more slaughter in Iraq, and perhaps a regional war fought primarily in Iraq.

I noted on March 8 in Left Behind:

It is expected that the power vacuum left by a Democrat-forced American military retreat from Iraq would be filled by foreign nations fueling a sectarian war in Iraq that would be both civil and proxy in nature. Saudi Arabia has made clear their intention to provide military and financial resources to Iraq's Sunni minority to hopefully keep their co-religionists from being "ethnically cleansed," while Iran would continue or increase its military and financial support of Shia factions in hopes of gaining a sphere of influence over oil-rich southern Iraq.

The end result of the Democrat plan of defeat would be a war-torn landscape not too dissimilar to the Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian War, writ large.

A repeat of events like the Srebrenica massacre are possible in Iraq's future if Democrats have their way.

Democrats, of course, know this, but simply seem to find political games in America far more important than the regional destabilization and projected increase in civilian deaths their plan for defeat would bring.

Democrats claim to care about our troops, which they do, when it’s politically convenient and they’re fresh out of spit.

Sadly, the millions of Iraqi civilians that would suffer as a result of their plan for defeat don't matter nearly as much to Democrat politicians.

Iraqi children won't send out important action alerts over frappacinos, or fund presidential campaigns in either America. It isn't their grandchildren that will suffer and die if we leave before the job is done.

The Democrats won't mention the cost of pandering to their radical base.

Apparently the one thing too shameful to discuss is the legacy they would leave behind.

Perpetually-anguished liberals like Bob Higgins are always quick to lament the lives lost in Iraq as they occur, holding them up as examples of the evils of what they see as a Republican War. Higgins closes his post saying:

I am sick of reading of war, hearing of war, writing of war and speaking of war and I know that all of the knowledge of war that comprises so much of my own human experience has only created in my soul a world in which I no longer have a thirst to live. I will take to my eternal grave the knowledge and stench of war and death and in my dead ears will dwell the clamor of the agonized keening of all the victims of war of human history.

The hell with it, I need a drink.

Higgins is sick of reading of war, hearing of war, writing of war and speaking of war.

I suspect that this means he will refuse to write or think about the widespread genocide and the regional war that may result from liberal policy of arbitrary surrender for which he so feverishly advocates.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:44 AM | Comments (7)

March 29, 2007

Carry Me

In many ways, this is simply an unremarkable picture.

carryme

Scenes like the one above, with smiling Iraqi children clamoring for the attention of U.S soldiers, are commonplace throughout Iraq. There is absolutely nothing special about them at all.

Today, Democrats in the United States Senate passed a war spending bill that would mandate U.S. military forces begin withdrawing troops within 120 days of passage, with a goal of ending combat operations by March 31, 2008.

New York Times Baghdad bureau chief John Burns noted this morning that if the U.S withdraws, "there's no doubt that the conflict could get a great deal worse very quickly, and we'd see levels of suffering and of casualties amongst Iraqis that potentially could dwarf the ones we've seen to this point."

If Burns is right and Democrats succeed in instigating a genocide, I wonder who will carry the Iraqi children... and how busy those pallbearers will be.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:01 PM | Comments (9)

Embedded Frustrations

If you are a journalist or blogger who wants to embed in Iraq, good luck making it through the PAO system. As a pair of prominent bloggers tell us on the record, getting into Iraq can be all but impossible thanks to obstacles put in place by the U.S. military's Pubic Affairs Office, and once there, the PAO seems to delight in making the life of an embed a living hell.

I wrote last week about embedded journalist Michael Yon being threatened with expulsion from Iraq by U.S. Army General Vincent Brooks, in a post called The Silencer. If the history I cobbled together is correct--and I believe it is--Brooks has held a grudge against Yon since 2005, when Brooks was the lead PAO (Public Affairs Officer) for the war, and a former spokesman for U.S. Central Command known as the "the face of the U.S. military" during his tenure in that position.

Brooks seems to have several points of irritation with Yon.

The first was a dispatch Yon published called Proximity Delays, in which Yon criticized the arcane and seemingly arbitrary censorship of Yon's writing by the military PAO system, which would ask him not to write about events, only to see that same PAO system release information "mangled into meaninglessness" to the world's media outlets. As a result, Yon was ordered not to write about an event that became his most famous individual dispatch, "Gates of Fire."

During a firefight in Mosul, LTC Kurilla was shot three times and CSM Robert Prosser was engaged in hand-to-hand conflict when Yon picked up the M4 carbine Prosser had dropped, and violated embed rules by engaging in combat, an event chronicled in words and pictures in Gates of Fire. After the battle was over, Yon described his debriefing thusly:

When I came back into the TOC, Major Michael Lawrence - who I often challenge to pull-up contests, and who so far has beat me (barely) every time - looked me square and professionally, in the direct way of a military leader and asked, "Mike, did you pick up a weapon today?" "I did." "Did you fire that weapon?" "I did." "If you pick up another weapon, you are out of here the next day. Understood?" "Understand." "We still have to discuss what happened today."

Writers are not permitted to fight. I asked SFC Bowman to look at the photos and hear what happened. Erik Kurilla and CSM Prosser were witness, but I did not want the men of Deuce Four who were not there to think I had picked up a weapon without just cause. I approached SFC Bowman specifically, because he is fair, and is respected by the officers and men. Bowman would listen with an open mind. While looking at the photos, Bowman said, "Mike, it's simple. Were you in fear for your life or the lives of others?"

"Thank you Sergeant Bowman," I said.

For the combat soldiers of the Deuce Four Stryker Brigade, that others had their lives potentially hanging on the actions of someone intervening was enough. Senior Army officers, including Brooks, thought otherwise, and Yon discussed last week:

The first time the Army threatened to kick me out was in late 2005, just after I published a dispatch called "Gates of Fire." Some of the senior level public affairs people who'd been upset by "Proximity Delays" were looking ever since for a reason to kick me out and they wanted to use "Gates of Fire" as a catapult. In the events described in that dispatch, I broke some rules by, for instance, firing a weapon during combat when some of our soldiers were fighting fairly close quarters and one was wounded and still under enemy fire. That’s right. I'm not sure what message the senior level public affairs people thought that would convey had they succeeded, (which they didn't) but it was clear to me what they valued most. They want the press on a short leash, even at the expense of the life of a soldier.

These events where Yon bent or broke the PAO's diktats were possible grounds for expulsion, to be sure, but these authoritative decrees were arbitrary, and made little sense on the battlefield. Did the PAO stifle Yon purposefully so that they could bask in the attention of releasing the capture of the Zarqawi letter? Would the PAO system rather that Yon stood by and watch American soldiers die than intercede?

With two seemingly arbitrary strikes against him already, Yon once again found conflict when the Army.

On May 2, 2005, Yon took a photo of U.S. Army Major Mark Bieger cradling an Iraqi girl named Farah who was wounded by a car bomb. The photo became the iconic photo of the war to date, and was selected as Time magazine's website readers as the most important picture of the year with almost 70% of the vote.

Yon agreed to let the Army use the photo for internal publication, but was shocked when the Army violated Yon's copyright, and released the photo to the world through the PAO, unattributed and unauthorized. After a seven-month stalemate with Army lawyers, attention from the media and the resulting blogswarm embarrassed the Army into having a more senior Army lawyer review and later settle the case.

The senior officer involved in this embarrassing case of copyright infringement? None other than then Chief of Public Affairs, Brigadier General Vincent Brooks. Ironically, Yon thanked him at the time.

Back in Iraq in a different role (deputy commanding general - support for Multinational Division-Baghdad), Brooks apparently still harbors his grudge, sending Yon an an email threatening to kick him out of Iraq.

Last night, Yon posted RUBS (Raw, Unedited and Barely Spell-checked) #2, in which he notes continued attempts by the Army to make his reporting as difficult as possible:

Generals with billions of dollars at their disposal gild their own MOCs (Media Operations Centers) with space-tech broadcasting gear, allowing them to bounce down live to America and the world, while journalists are not permitted to hook their computers into the unsecure "NIPR" internet lines. Public Affairs officers stagger like sway-backed mules with shifting excuses for why media have no secure places to live and work at the major bases, and why every solution for communications is ad hoc.

Journalists are welcome to come here and report. Sort of. On Camp Victory, celebrity media passing through might get star treatment at the Joint Visitors Bureau on the lake by the palace, but others get a cot in the KBR tents where itinerant men – not soldiers usually – often stay for a day or two before shipping off to parts unknown around Iraq, or the world. The tent-mates are Americans, Iraqis, Indians and others. In a tent where I recently stayed, MPs handcuffed one giant of a man, an American, before he could make good his threat to "stomp the liver out" of one of the tent-mates. In this jailhouse atmosphere, some men's eyes dart crow-like to shiny objects, and a journalist with expensive gear is reluctant to even take a shower or to eat without a way to secure the crow bait. If a five minute shower or twenty minute trip to a mess hall is unwise, the idea of going on a five or ten day combat mission, leaving non-essential gear behind, is out of the question. As is lugging it along.

Senior officers know this. I made sure. But when I told one senior ranking man about my concern for the expensive gear, his response was "I don't care."

Apparently unable to find a legitimate excuse to throw Yon out of Iraq, senior army officers at the PAO (many of which are still friendly with a threatening Vincent "The Silencer" Brooks) seem intent on making it as difficult as possible for Yon to do his job. They apparently want him to quit and leave Iraq.

At least he got in.

Michael Fumento another highly-regarded embedded journalist and blogger with three al Anbar embeds under his belt, can't get back into the country, once again thanks to U.S. military Public Affairs:

I asked for two embeds in the Baghdad area or one in Baghdad and one in Diyala, a hotspot on the Iranian border. These would allow the reporting I specialize in, which isn't "war" generally but combat. I like to report on the men doing the fighting (see this and this, for example). One person said of my “New Band of Brothers” article, it’s "Great stuff with a great unit in a very tough neighborhood!" That was General David Petraeus, now commander of coalition forces in Iraq...

...During this time I corresponded with high-ranking Public Affairs Officers who tried to make me out to be the bad guy because I didn't want to travel eight time zones on my own dime and write about nothing. One essentially told me that a good journalist can make lemonade out of lemons. The saying, of course, is to make lemonade "When life gives you lemons," not "When we give you lemons." They might as well have said, "Hey baby, just relax and enjoy it."

Fumento told me via email last week that since releasing that post on March 3, he appears to have been "blacklisted."

Since that piece appeared, NO PAO in all of Iraq will respond to my e-mails. That includes the Marines in Anbar who earlier made it quite clear they were very eager to have me back. CPIC blacklisted me. So while I don't know the particulars yet of why Yon is on the s--t list I certainly agree that CPIC has its head up its butt in catering to every little whim of MSM reporters who are stabbing our troops and the war effort in the back even as it blocks the efforts of citizen embeds who pay out of their own pockets to get down and dirty with the troops and make every effort to report what's really going on in Iraq.

Yon and Fumento aren't the only experienced embeds I spoke with that criticized the capricious, arbitrary and vindictive nature of the military PAO system, a system that doesn't understand the importance of embedded journalists and bloggers in getting information to the public, and simultaneously seems intent on destroying that which it doesn't understand.

As Fumento closed in his post Why I'm Not Embedded in Iraq: The Army isn't Helping Win the War at Home:

In a guerrilla war, perception is more important than reality. For example, the Tet Offensive saw the Viet Cong crushed, but the media converted it into an incredible communist victory. When CPIC caters to reporters who put headlines before facts, who want to portray the war as hopeless, and who show the military in as bad a light as possible and then proceeds to shunt aside reporters with a track record for veracity and supporting the troops, it shows utter ignorance of this truism. Somehow I don't think this was part of Gen. Petraeus's plan.

From what I've read of General Petraeus, he has an excellent conceptual grasp of how to fight and win a military campaign against an insurgency.

I sincerely hope he can come to understand the importance of using embeds to win the media war against the insurgency as well.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:43 AM | Comments (6)

March 28, 2007

On the Brink?

RIA Novosti (Russia) reports that American forces seem to be preparing for a combined air and land assault on Iran:

Russian military intelligence services are reporting a flurry of activity by U.S. Armed Forces near Iran's borders, a high-ranking security source said Tuesday.

"The latest military intelligence data point to heightened U.S. military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran," the official said, adding that the Pentagon has probably not yet made a final decision as to when an attack will be launched.

He said the Pentagon is looking for a way to deliver a strike against Iran "that would enable the Americans to bring the country to its knees at minimal cost."

Feh.

I strongly doubt that there is anything to this account, with the possible exception that we might be positioning forces in a bluff. I don't claim to know the dispostion or concentration of American ground forces within striking distance of Iran, but I don't think that a force sufficient to stage an invasion of Iran could be drawn up without any word leaking out.

Then again, these accounts sound a little ominous, and make my crystal ball sound pretty accurate, even though I question the timing.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:51 PM | Comments (4)

Rampage in Tal Afar

Simply awful:

Off-duty Shiite policemen enraged by massive bombings in the northern town of Tal Afar went on a revenge spree against Sunni residents there on Wednesday, killing at least 45 men, police and hospital officials said.

The policemen began roaming the town's Sunni neighborhoods on foot early in the morning, shooting at Sunni residents and homes

A senior hospital official in Tal Afar said at least 45 men ages 15 to 60 were killed and four others were wounded.

Police said dozens of Sunnis were killed or wounded, but they had no precise figures. The shooting continued for more than two hours, the officials said.

Army troops later moved into the Sunni areas to stop the violence and a curfew was slapped on the entire town, according to Wathiq al-Hamdani, the provincial police chief and his head of operations, Brig. Abdul-Karim al-Jibouri.

Tal Afar is a city of 220,000, and unlike their neighbors, the residents are nearly all Turkmen. the city's population is roughly 60-percent Shia, and the city is divided into 18 neighborhoods along tribal lines. Middle East Online reports that the dead were found handcuffed and blindfolded, shot in the back of the head, execution style. The revenge killings took place shortly after the truck bombings, in the Sunni neighborhood of Wahada. It is not yet known why this particular Sunni neighborhood was targeted.

The rampage ended with the arrival of an Iraqi Army unit.

Time reports that the Iraqi Army has already arrested 18 Tal Afar policemen for the killings based on eyewitness accounts from the victim's family, and also stated that Shia militiamen participated in the attacks.

The Tal Afar police have been confined to barracks and that police from Mosul (30 miles to the east of Tal Afar) were moving in to provide security. Brig. Abdul-Karim al-Jibouri is moving in to take control of the operations on the ground, and to presumably start an investigation.

The massacre--there is no other way to describe it--was in response to two truck bombings carried out by Sunni militants yesterday that killed 63 and wounded 150.

The Sunnis already distrust the Shia-dominated police forces, and the two-hour revenge attack is sure to sour relations even more.

How much relations will sour depends in large part on how the Iraqi police forces themselves respond to the attack. Confining the local police to their barracks is the first step, but it is necessary for an investigation to immediately begin, and for those responsible for the attacks to be arrested (if there are more than the 18 captured so far) and tried for their crimes.

If there is any good news at all to report from this massacre, it is that the Shia-dominated Iraqi Army was able to move in and arrest many if not all of those responsible for the attacks and restore order without U.S. involvement.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:50 AM | Comments (7)

March 27, 2007

The Surge at Home

Via Instapundit, Frank Warner notes that public opinion on the progress of the Iraq War is slightly more optimistic:

One little-publicized finding of the new Pew poll is that, compared to last month, Americans now are slightly more optimistic about the Iraq war.

The portion of Americans who believe the war is going "very well" or "fairly well" for the United States increased from the all-time low of 30 percent in February to 40 percent this month.

This bump in support comes just as E.J. Dionne calls the battle for a free Iraq "a conflict that grows more unpopular by the day." Which day in March?

In the last month, the percent of Americans saying the war is going "not too well" or "not well at all" dropped from 67 to 56.

I'd caution that the influx of American soldiers into the Baghdad security plan is just beginning, with the full force of the "surge" arriving in June, even as Democrats futily push forward with their plan to lose the war.

It will be intersting to see if this change in the Pew poll of those who think the war is going "very well" or "fairly well" continues to grow as more soldiers enter Iraq, and if the number of those who think the war is going "not too well" or "nor well at all" drops further. This, of course, will be dictated largely by how the war progresses on the ground.

If definitive progress is made in coming months, it will be very interesting to see how that affects the polls, and the actions of House and Senate Democrats. Bills to lose the war by setting artificial and arbitrary deadlines are being set up for a Presidential veto, and it will be very interesting to see if Pelosi, Murtha, etc will continue to attempt to lose the war if measurable progress is made in the coming months.

I doubt that the most strident anti-war critics will be silenced by any hope of victory, and it could be interesting to see how Democrats attempt to placate their radical base if further progress occurs.

Update: Brian attempts to answer the question, "How's that surge going?"

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:10 AM | Comments (26)

March 23, 2007

Peacekeeper Cargo Plane Shot Down in Somalia

A witness claims it was hit by a SAM during its ascent. Details are still sketchy right now, and there doesn't seem to be any word on how many people were on the plane, or if anyone on the ground was killed or wounded as a result of the plane coming down.

As of yet it doesn't look like anyone has taken claim for the attack, but the obvious suspects are Somali Islamists.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:41 AM | Comments (1)

Landscape of War

I'm not familar with Mike Gudgell of ABC News, but his "Reporter's Notebook" article about what he is seeing in Iraq is a must read.

A taste of Gudgell's article, starting on page 3:

According to the U.S. military, a group of al Qaeda in Iraq fighters recently entered a small village east of Baghdad and announced they would be back and would take several houses for their base. When they returned two days later, their convoy was attacked by villagers. The military found out when the villagers told them to come out and pick up bodies and prisoners.

The numbers of civilian deaths are down a little but that's only a small part of the story. It's the little things together that make the difference. It might be too early to tell if this is a tipping point in the war, but it does appear as though the momentum has changed.

There's a long way to go, but there is room for some hope. It depends on your perspective; those snapshots and keyhole views of the broad landscape of what is a living war.

I strongly urge you to read the entire article. Gudgell is matter of fact, and pulls no punches.

More, please.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:49 AM | Comments (4)

March 22, 2007

al-Sadr Spokesman Captured; Held For Karbala Attacks

Two brothers with ties to Muqtada al-Sadr have been arrested for their role in the killing of five American soldiers in Karbala two months ago.

From CNN:

"Over the past several days, coalition forces in Basra and Hilla captured Qais Khazali, his brother Laith Khazali and several other members of the Khazali network," the U.S. military said in a statement.

Qais Khazali has been known to reporters as a spokesman for al-Sadr's political movement, and Reuters news agency reported that Khazali is a senior aide to the anti-American cleric.

Al-Sadr's Mehdi Army, a Shiite militia, is suspected of being involved in Iraq's sectarian violence.

The U.S. military said the Khazali network is "directly connected" to the January killings in Karbala, the Shiite holy city south of Baghdad.

On Wednesday, a U.S. official said the brothers were suspected of being part of a network using weapons known as explosively formed projectiles or penetrators. Bush administration officials have alleged that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force have provided these munitions to Shiite groups in Iraq.

Those grains of salt I spoke of yesterday? They just got smaller, especially when considered with other developments, all of which are providing more evidence that the Iranian role in the Iraq War may be larger than we were previously aware, and potentially growing.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2007

Red Meat. Season Well With Large Grains of Salt

It's based upon unconfirmed reports from unknown informants, but the allegations made in this story could be interesting if corroborated by another source:

Iraqi insurgents, guerrilla fighters and death squads are being trained in secret camps in Iran with the blessing of top Tehran leaders and at least three senior Iraqi political figures, an Iranian opposition figure said Tuesday.

Would-be Iraqi fighters are smuggled into Iran, schooled in everything from sniper techniques to explosive devices and sent back to Iraq to wage war on U.S.-led coalition forces, Alireza Jafarzadeh said at a news conference.

It is important to note that Jafarzadeh has worked for the Mujahedin al-Khalq, an anti-Iranian terrorist group, and presently leads the Washington-based Strategic Policy Consulting think tank.

Perhaps the most interesting part of his claim is his specificity of those named as being among the Iranian leaders involved in the plot.

Jafarzadeh said Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are closely connected to the training. He said Abu Ahmad Al-Ramisi, governor of southern Iraq's Al-Muthanna province, and two members of Iraq's National Assembly are also involved.

He identified one as Hadi Al-Ameri, who he said is chairman of the legislature's security committee and head of the Badr Corps, the Iran-based military wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The other is an assembly member known in Iraq as Abu Mehdi Mohandas, he said.

Before the day is out, I expect that a fevered left-wing blogger (or ten) will state that the Bush Administration is behind Jafarzadeh's comments, and that these comments will be used to justify a military attack on Iran.

I don't think that is the case.

If there is any Administration involvement behind Jafarzadeh's charges, it seems that the goal of such specific charges would be to embarrass the Iranian government to stop or restrict their involvement in funding and supplying violence in Iraq.

It is known fact that Iran is supplying anti-government forces within Iraq with weapons—the confiscation of more than 100 Iranian Styer HS50 sniper rifles proves that beyond any reasonable doubt—but blaming Iran the nation is far easier for the mullacracy to dodge than are charges levied against individual Iranian officials.

Will specifically alleging the involvement of key senior Iranian government officials have any impact in slowing the flow of weapons, funding, or training from Iran to Iraq's anti-government forces? I somewhat doubt it, but at this point, it may be the only option on the table.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:02 PM | Comments (1)

An Inadequate Response to a Father's Loss

Yesterday in his Chicago Tribune blog "Change of Subject", Eric Zorn wrote about a two-page letter written to President Bush by Richard Landeck, father of Captain Kevin Landeck. Captain Landeck and Staff Sgt. Terrance D. Dunn were soldiers of the Tenth Mountain Division killed by a roadside bomb on February 6, south of Baghdad.

Richard Landeck said he mailed his letter to the President a little more than six weeks ago, and has yet to receive a response.

The letter, written two days after his son's death, is printed in full on Zorn's blog, but I'll replicate it here as well.

Feb 4, 2007

Dear Mr. Bush:

This will be the only time I will refer to you with any type of respect.

My son was killed in Iraq on February 2, 2007. His name is Captain Kevin Landeck.

He served with the Tenth Mountain Division. He was killed while riding in a Humvee by a roadside bomb just south of Baghdad. He has a loving mother, a loving father and loving sister.

You took him away from us. He celebrated his 26th birthday January 30th and was married for 17 months. He graduated from Purdue University and went through the ROTC program. That is where he met his future wife. He was proud to be a part of the military and took exceptional pride in becoming a leader of men. He accepted his role as a platoon leader with exceptional enthusiasm and was proud to serve his country.

I had many conversations with Kevin before he left to serve as well as during his deployment. The message he continued to send to me was that of incompetence. Incompetence by you, (Vice President Richard) Cheney and (former Secretary of Defense Donald) Rumsfeld. Incompetence by some of his commanders as well as the overall strategy of your decisions.

When I asked him about what he thought about your decision to "surge" more troops to Baghdad, he told me, "until the Iraqis pick up the ball, we are going to get cut to shreds. It doesn’t matter how many troops Bush sends, nothing has been addressed to solve the problem he started."

Answer me this: How in the world can you justify invading Iraq when the problem began and continues to lie in Afghanistan? I don’t want your idiotic standard answer about keeping America safe. What did Sadaam Hussein have to do with 9/11? We all know it had to do with the first Iraq war where your father failed to take Sadaam down.

Well George, you have succeeded in taking down over 3,100 of our best young men, my son being one of them. Kevin told me many times we are not fighting terrorism in Iraq and they could not do their jobs as soldiers. He said they are trained to be on the offensive and to fight but all they are doing is acting like policemen.

Well George, you or some "genius" like you who have never fought in a war but enjoy all the perks your positions afford you are making life and death decisions. In the case of my son, you made a death decision.

Let me explain a few other points he and I discussed. He said when he and his men were riding down the road in their Humvees, roadside bombs would explode and they would hear bullets bouncing off their vehicle. He said they were scared. He thought "why should we be the ones who are scared?" He asked permission to take some of his men out at night with their night vision glasses because as he said "we own the night" and watch for the people who are setting roadside bombs and "take them out." He said, "I want them to be the ones that are scared." He was denied permission. Why? It made perfect sense to me and other people who I told about this.

When he was at a checkpoint he was told that if a vehicle was coming at them even at a high rate of speed he could not arbitrarily use his weapon. He had to wave his arms and, if the vehicle did not stop, he could fire a warning shot over the vehicle. If the vehicle did not stop then, he could shoot at the tires. If the vehicle did not yet stop he could take a shot at the driver. Who in their right mind made that kind of decision?

How would you like to be at a check point with a vehicle coming at you that won't stop and go through all those motions? You will never know!

You or Cheney or Rumsfeld will never know the anguish, the worry, the sleepless nights, the waiting for the loved one who may never return. If the soldiers were able to do their jobs and the ego's of politicians like you, your "cronies" and some commanders had their heads on straight, we would be out of this mess which we should not be involved with in the first place.

My family and I deserve and explanation directly from you... not some assistant who will likely read this and toss it. This war is wrong.

I want you to look me and my wife and daughter directly in the eye and tell me why my son died. We should not be there, but because of your ineptness and lack of correct information I have lost my son, my pride and joy, my hero!

Again, you, Cheney and Rumsfeld will never understand what the families of soldiers are going through and don't try to tell me you do. My wife, my daughter and I cannot believe we have lost our only son and brother to a ridiculous political war that you seem to want to maintain. I hope you and Cheney and Rumsfeld and all the other people on your band wagon sleep well at night... we certainly don't.

Richard Landeck

Proud father of a fallen soldier

Eric Zorn's position on the war is abundantly clear and permeates his blog entry like grease on a paper bag, and so I'll skip his unseemly attempt to hijack Richard Landeck's grief, and focus on the letter itself.

I first read Mr. Landeck's letter on Zorn's blog last night. The anger, anguish, and loss he feels over what he sees as the needless death of his son has to wash through all but the hardest of hearts. Richard Landeck clearly loved a son he will never see again, never watch mature, raise children, and grandchildren...

I could not easily come to terms with the hurt and rage behind Landeck's letter, the loss of his son, framed by what both the grieving father and the lost son thought of the Iraq War. I still can't.

I cannot imagine sending a child to fight a war in which neither my child nor I believed, nor the pain that Mr. Landeck, his wife, daughter, and widowed daughter-in-law must now endure as the result of Captain Landeck's death. There is a huge void now in their lives that will never be filled, one that cannot be expressed. Others will see the pain and sense the loss, but they be unable to address it, and they will feel shame. There simply are no words to sooth a wound to the soul.

My own response, couched in that same embarrassed shame of not knowing what to say, is unfulfilling, and inadequate.

I somewhat suspect that President Bush has not personally seen Mr. Landeck's letter. Even if he has, what precisely would he say? What should he say? How do you respond to a grieving father that hold's you personally responsible for his son's death?

Would Richard Landeck have felt any less rage, anger, or loss if his son had been killed by an IED in Khandahar, Afghanistan? Would Kevin's death have been "better" if he had died fighting another war started by this same President? Somehow, I doubt the suffering of the Landeck family would have been much less.

We cannot fill that part of our lives where a fallen loved one once stood.

Mr. Landeck has exercised the option to feel that his son's mission and death were not worthwhile. He has every right to feel that way, to question the competence of the leaders that placed his son in combat, the commanders on the ground that declined Captain Landeck's requests for a certain specific type of mission, and the rules of engagement.

Mr. Landeck has that right, but is doesn't mean he is right.

Neither Bush, nor Cheney, nor Rumsfeld, nor the generals, nor the colonels, are responsible for the deaths of Captain Landeck and Staff Sgt. Dunn on February 6. The names of the man or men who planted and triggered the roadside bomb that took the lives of these soldiers may never be known.

What is known is that these men, and others like them, will continue to plant roadside bombs, detonate VBIEDs in markets or in front of police stations, killing and wounding scores of soldiers, policemen, and civilians until men like Captain Landeck stop them.

Sixty-three years and seventeen days before Kevin Landeck died, correspondent Ernie Pyle wrote about the death of another U.S. Army Captain highly regarded by his men.

The unburdened mules moved off to their olive orchard. The men in the road seemed reluctant to leave. They stood around, and gradually one by one I could sense them moving close to Capt. Waskow's body. Not so much to look, I think, as to say something in finality to him, and to themselves. I stood close by and I could hear.

One soldier came and looked down, and he said out loud, "God damn it." That's all he said, and then he walked away. Another one came. He said, "God damn it to hell anyway." He looked down for a few last moments, and then he turned and left.

Another man came; I think he was an officer. It was hard to tell officers from men in the half light, for all were bearded and grimy dirty. The man looked down into the dead captain's face, and then he spoke directly to him, as though he were alive. He said: "I'm sorry, old man."

Then a soldier came and stood beside the officer, and bent over, and he too spoke to his dead captain, not in a whisper but awfully tenderly, and he said:

"I sure am sorry, sir."

Then the first man squatted down, and he reached down and took the dead hand, and he sat there for a full five minutes, holding the dead hand in his own and looking intently into the dead face, and he never uttered a sound all the time he sat there.

And finally he put the hand down, and then reached up and gently straightened the points of the captain's shirt collar, and then he sort of rearranged the tattered edges of his uniform around the wound. And then he got up and walked away down the road in the moonlight, all alone.

I sure am sorry, Mr. Landeck.

It is an inadequate response to a grieving father, but it is all I have to give.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:54 AM | Comments (56)

March 20, 2007

Haditha Photo Seems to Question Wuterich's Memory

I missed the 60 Minutes interview of Marine Frank Wuterich that Allah discussed on Hot Air yesterday, and therefore can't dispute nor affirm the Neil Boortz claim that the interview was, "one of the most outrageous displays of media bias ever."

What I will comment on briefly, however, is the screen capture Allah was able to grab of a photo showing the bodies of the five Iraqis that Wuterich said he suspected of planting the IED, and then shot as they were running away.

haditha

The picture is grainy and not of great quality, and I don't have the detail I would generally like to have, but I'll make an observation all the same:

I don't think these men were running, from anyone.

The bodies are closely clustered together within steps of the car in which they were traveling. A person standing still, if shot with a killing wound or multiple wounds, often falls in place. They may get up and move locations, but based upon what I interpret as pooled blood in the admittedly sub-par photo, I don't think that occurred.

It is highly unlikely, if this men had decided to run, that:

  • they would have taken off in unison;
  • that Wuterich would have been able to react, fire, and fatally hit five running men within feet of the vehicle.
  • that they would have fallen in unison if on the move when shot.

It isn't impossible that this occurred, but I think it is very unlikely.

Now, we don't know if the bodies of the men have been touched. I think that if they had been moved (dragged) that blood trails would have been in evidence, even in a picture with quality this poor. I think that if they have been touched, they might have been rolled over to see if they were still alive, but I don't think they would have been turned to face the opposite direction.

In general, I'd expect someone shot during the first few steps while attempting to flee (which would almost have to be the case if the Wuterich account can be correlated in any way to the photo) would fall headfirst in the direction that momentum would take them. I'd also find it unlikely that a person taking just a few steps would generate enough momentum to somersault.

All that said, look at the orientation of the bodies in the photo.

haditha2

Two bodies (labeled 1 and 2) are oriented clearly with their heads generally toward the car, which makes it doubtful they could have been moving away from the vehicle, at least at any speed approaching a run. The body closest to the camera, labeled 3, is roughly in the position you might expect of someone standing still when shot, then falling backward. The black box I drew, merely for illustrative purposes, gives a very rough idea of where the shots appear to have come from, based upon a number of guestimates, factoring in the position of the white car, and the object in the top right that would have likely screened these men from view of anyone much further back down the road.

The photo, bad as it may be, seems to validate the Dela Cruz version of events, and based upon Dela Cruz's own description of what he did to one of the bodies, might even explain why the stain near the head of the body labeled 2 appears to be lighter in color than the other dark stains around the bodies in the photo.

This, of course, does nothing to establish the guilt or innocence of Wuterich, nor any of the other Marines. It does nothing to establish a state of mind, nor a motive.

What is does suggest, at the very least, is that Wuterich does not recall events as the photo seems to suggest they took place.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:39